Thirteen Years ago today, I experienced a big "new beginning" -- the end of my mission. On June 9, 2000, I flew back home from Minneapolis, Minnesota. Since then, June 9 has been a day to reflect on "new beginnings" in my life. Sort of like a second stab at New Year's Day, without the counting down til midnight.
There have been many "new beginnings" in the past few months -- I started a new job in a totally foreign career, I bought a car by myself for the first time, and I moved to a different county. However, today, I want to reflect on a different "new beginning" currently in progress.
On that beautiful day 13 years ago, I woke up with zero desire to ever go to a single's ward. However, when I was sitting in the Stake President's office, he challenged me to try the local single's ward for three months. He had an agreement with the bishop of that ward that new missionaries wouldn't get a calling for those three months, so that if the didn't like the ward, they wouldn't feel trapped there at the end of the three months. I took up the challenge, and tried the single's ward.
Nearly 11 years later, I was still in that single's ward. it was time to move on. I decided to try what my friend had called the Ward of Misfit Toys -- a midsingles ward (cue ominous BOOM BOOM BOOM here). I discovered that there were many misfits in that ward, but also came to realize that I, too, was a misfit. I knew that this was the ward for me.
That was a little more than two years ago. With my recent move, I was no longer living in that ward's boundaries. Even though the bishop told me that I could stay, since there are many ward members who don't live in the boundaries, I have come to the realization that it is time for me to change to another ward. Yes, the Misfit 2nd Ward.
I'll miss my time in the Misfit 1st Ward. My best friend (the one who coined the term and only came to the ward with me kicking and screaming) met his wife in the ward. I've made many friends, renewed old friendships, and hope to continue those friendships. I've even met a few people that, if life had happened slightly differently, we probably would have crossed each other's paths, and still become friends.
During my time there, I have learned many lessons in the Lord's timing, I've seen people make themselves into better people, and I've seen people accept others, including their flaws. As one ward member said in his testimony before getting married "Look for the wondrous miracles in our lives, because I see them every day!" I've learned much, gained greatly, and even become a little less of a misfit during my time there. Just because I'm no longer a member of the Misfit 1st Ward doesn't mean that I'm not going completely disappear -- I'll still attend the occasional activity.
May the Lord bless and keep all my friends in the Misfit 1st Ward, and may He continue to shine his countenance upon you.