Sunday, April 15, 2012

Titled and bound by mistakes.

Dear Mom,
I'm still in shock to hear of Grandpa Severo's death, especially right after his 90th birthday. When I Ieft he was still so strong. It's really sad to hear of people being lost. I believe that life itself is the greatest blessing we have and is something that we all take for granted. The people you love won't always be here with you, and it's hard because we often take for granted that they will be there tomorrow. We let fights, differences, assumptions, and misunderstandings get in the way of people to love. We forget to tell them we love them, until it's too late. We can be so hard-headed as humans. I know it will be hard few days for all of us and you will all be in my prayers, especially grandma. I know that it's not permanent though - just as everything else in this temporal life. And that even the sting of death is swallowed up in Christ.

Trials. Testing, trying, striving, suffering. Change. Pain. Tears. Fights with others. Fights with yourself. Loss of hope. Loss of love. Endless mistakes. Giving up.

Nostalgic. Regret. Those two words can pretty much some up my week.

Dinner with our neighbors from Florida.
This week went by fast at some points, but terribly slow at others. I can't remember the last time I struggled this much on my mission, especially when I'm doing the best to be my best. Everything from the heat, to health, to the language, to relationships with others. Things just have been going wrong when I feel like all I'm trying to do is my best. I've become a bit regretful this past week in thinking about my mission. I thought about who I was before, and who I am now, and am not sure if I've seen a change. I've thought about mistakes I have made - big and small. I thought about who I wanted to become, and realized that I didn't have enough time left to become whoever that person is.

I felt at many points this week that I had wasted my mission away, not becoming who I wanted to become and turning down millions of chances and opportunities. I wanted to just throw in the towel and give up.

Last Friday, I was awoken by my companion pacing the room, holding his hand in held back tears. He apparently was sleeping and his hand somehow fell into  his electric fan. The blades of metal against his skin obviously didn't turn out to be pleasant. So I did my best to try to help him, even though I wasn't really able to. I opened my first-aid kid that you gave me mom, only to find that all my medical tape, athletic tape, and gauze had all melted after two years of not being used. So we just bandaged it up and wrapped it tightly in a cloth.

That night I couldn't sleep. Everything that I had been thinking about the whole week just came back into my had. I thought about how it seems like everyone else comes back perfect on their missions, and here I am with a little over two months left, with nothing to show for. Tears couldn't even describe the pain, and my prayers seemed to be invalid that night.

The next day was temple tour. 

It took us awhile to get to Manila from Bulacan. When we finally got there I raced into the bathroom because... I had to go. When I walked out, I had the most unexpected surprise. 

Nearly all of my very closest families and people I taught from Mapayapa were standing right there waiting for me. Apparently they had seen me race in, and all gathered outside to greet me. They had all come to the temple that day just to see me. It was one handshake after another, one hug after another in nothing but tears. Good tears. The best was seeing Kuya Marcie's smiling face come out of nowhere and a big hug that I needed. We were able to spend the whole tour together and it was exactly what I needed. The comfort was indescribable. I realized that even if I did fail my whole mission, I did at at least one thing right in Mapayapa. 

Later on that day we had a great baptism. The day was needed. The day was complete. I learned something that day that my companion shared with me earlier that week. 

I was so focused that past week on specific mistakes. Things I have done wrong, things that have gone wrong, that seemed to all have my name written on them in permanent marker. Elder Anderson shared with me last week a scripture in the Book of Mormon that he read in Alma 9:28 that talked about how we will be judged one day for who we have been, not just on what we have done. I've thought about that the past few days and how I just felt like my mistakes and sins were just so numerous that there was no way that God could look away from them and see me. But I had forgotten the Elder Corpuz that I was in Mapayapa. The very few lives I was able to help, and the great person, despite mistakes that I had been.

It's so easy to judge yourself and see the things you want to change and fix, but what I've realized even more is since you live with yourself everyday, it's also hard to see progress and change. Even though things are far from being perfect, and the conveniences and comforting friendships of Mapayapa are very far from the rice fields of Plaridel, I know that somehow things will be okay. Sorrow will never make things right and will never correct mistakes, and mistakes will continue to be made as long as we live. But it's up to us to define what those mistakes will do to us. Title us and bind us, or motivate us to act and let God set us free. Our lives will never be summed up by list of events or meaningless rewards and statuses, but by the great people, the traits, and the Christlike-attributes that we become.

Elder Corpuz

P.S. Big news here about seeing Elder Archuleta aka David Archuleta as a missionary in the choir at General Conference. It's great to see people have their priorities set.