Friday, March 7, 2014

Voices for Courage

This week as part of BYU's Voices for Courage Campaign, Elizabeth Smart came and spoke. FOR FREE. So of course I went.

It was actually an all day process for me.. I didn't have much homework so around noon I got ahold of her book and started reading. (IF YOU HAVE NOT READ THIS BOOK GO DO SO NOW.)

It took my by surprise how captivating it was and how attached I felt emotionally to Elizabeth Smart.
Maybe it's because I remember when she was taken and remember seeing stuff everywhere and remember people in my family volunteering for her and remember the day she was found? Or maybe it's because the way she described her personality and life prior to her abduction so closely resembles my own?

Either way I only barely managed to put the book down long enough to attend my last class.
Then on I went! I got in line about an hour and a half before doors opened for admission and almost 3 hours before the event started. I sat on the floor and continued to read. I was almost to the end of the book when it was time to go in.

Listening to her tell it was incredible.
It is one thing to read something. But hearing it firsthand? It made it real. This wasn't just a story of a girl kidnapped from her home, raped every day for nine months, and forced to do a number of other horrific things. This was HER story. It really happened. And she was a survivor. And she was normal. And she was happy. And she was incredible.

I really can't even fathom what she went through, even knowing her story. The sympathy is there. But empathy? I've never experienced anything remotely similar. It just.. It is amazing.
It made me think a lot about how I would have acted in the same situation. Would I have even survived? Or would I have lost hope? Or lost my faith?

I am so grateful for my hope and faith.
Every day it is what helps me be happy and keep going.
Because, let's be honest, life is hard. School is stressful. People are frustrating. The world is confusing. But there is something that never ever changes, and that is God's love.
It is there for us whether we deserve it or not. No matter who we are. No matter what we do. Our worth does not depend on our worthiness. And that in and of itself is incredible.

I am so grateful for the life I have had so far. Really, I am beyond blessed. I have a family that loves me and parents who have given me every opportunity to succeed and more than I could have ever deserved or asked for. I have some of the best friends in the entire world who are all worthy and willing to serve around the world. I go to my dream university and I love it more and more every day. I know what I want to do with my life and know how to work hard for what  I want. But most of all I am grateful for my Savior and Heavenly Father. I am grateful that I know they are there. I am grateful that I never have to feel alone because Christ suffered EVERYTHING and understands me completely. I am grateful to know the truth and be able to stand as a witness to others and to my God that I will always follow him. I am grateful for my life and I am so excited for the adventures yet to come in it!

Love Always, Aimee