I am so full of emotion. Today is my last in Jerusalem and I feel like a rose that is being picked as a bud. I've grown so much here and I know that I have used every minute the best I could but goodness: four months is just not long enough! My mind is flooded with memories of the friends I've made and the lessons I have learned. They are innumerous. One of my dear friends, Taufik, runs a shewarma shop. As we visited him to bid him goodbye he spoke to us of the power of the human mind. He promised us that we will be able to recall every detail of our experiences here if we meditate upon them carefully. I hope to do exactly that and maybe my mind will blossom into maturity and real understanding of the things I experienced.
Everyone around the center has referred to this week as the last leg of the race but on the contrary I feel like I am standing on the starting line of a 5K for high school cross country. I have a pit in my stomach and every particle of my will is directed against the urge to run and hide in the bus. But there is also an excitement. I've been training here for almost four months and though I am nervous I will throw my entire being into the longest race of all: real life.
As I feel so weak I am reminded of the parable of the mustard seed given by Jesus Christ:
"Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof." Matt 13:31-32
We are so small and insignificant by ourselves but Christ is the light and the life. He has a nice plot of dirt, lots of water and plenty of sunshine. It a beautiful sybiotic relationship because we are nothing without him but he cannot grow a tree without us! He is waiting to plant us and nourish us and if we trust in him we will become something better than our wildest dreams.
There is a short video of my Grandpa Madsen's life and it starts out with his voice,"What you are is so much greater than anything you have yet done; it is incredible. And most of your problems arise not from overemphasizing that but from underestimating it. If you have not yet absorbed a sense of mission you had better open up your pores." Everytime I hear these words, which is many times while I have been here, I feel in my heart that it is true. Heavenly Father has BIG plans for his children. Each one has the potential to be great and if we look to Christ he will enable us to reach that potential.
I know God loves his children with an overwhelming, cosmic-blasting love. I get little tastes of it each day through my experiences. I know that though I am leaving is beautiful, sacred land behind, this love will remain in my heart. I know that my Redeemer lives and even know he speaks peace to my soul and I have the conviction to carry on in joy and faith!
Runners on your mark. Get set. Bang!