Sunday, April 15, 2012
Evan has finals in a few weeks....and after that we are really entering our year of lasts in Utah---last summer semester, last fall semester, last spring semester, last Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter.....
And as we enter our year of lasts, I'll reach 10 years of living in Utah.
As the weather has been nice, I've been enjoying driving around. Cresting the belt route and looking west, taking in the beauty of the Great Salt Lake, or today driving the corridor over the Point of the Mountain deep into the heart of Utah County. I love Utah, particularly the spring time where the weather changes and you feel the beauty of this land and know the summer is holding something special for you.
Yes, I was born and raised in Portland, Oregon and the surrounding area (Beaverton, Aloha, Tiger, Clackamas, Hillsboro, Lincoln City, Gresham, Tigard, Oregon City, Milwaukie, Sheridan, and Forest Grove). However, there is nothing there for me anymore. Less than a handful of people, every corner, turn and bend holds horrific memories. I never loved it there. I never wanted to go back. I just wanted to leave.
But Utah has my heart. It isn't at all what I expected arriving on a plane with two checked bags and three boxes shipped from Portland.
Here is where I learned about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Here is where I stretched myself, faced demons and came through. Here is where I learned Heavenly Father loves me.
Here is where I met my husband, got married, and became a mother. Here is where I received the full blessings of the temple.
Here is where I made a best friend who helped me heal, birth my Aiden in the safety of my own home, and then lose her unexpectedly. Here I grieved.
Here is where I became an adult. I took on a household, learned about budgets, paid bills, and realized there is no safety net. I fought hard to provide for my family. And although there will never be any cloth diapers, I learned to make my own laundry soap and cleaners. I coupon. I shop at thrift stores. Here I learned I love to can, dehydrate, do it from scratch, and garden.
Here I learned to be a good neighbor and had the best neighbors imaginable.
This land has shown me so many wonderful and beautiful things that it has to offer. Like small oil towns or quaint country towns centered around a miracle pageant, that I adore particularly because they cradle the women and babies that I love there. Gorgeous landscapes, high mountains, lakes, and rivers designed to be floated in the heat of July because they are freezing year round. Nature is so close to this city. You drive the freeway and see fields and cows. Here I long to hike and camp and swim. I live in the shadow of the mountains, quite literally.
I came and created my own family of friends, that even when we don't always talk frequently it is like no time has past. People who rally around me. People who cry with me and smile. People who bring amazing things into my life. And with Evan, he had created the same sort of family of friends, so my husband expanded my family with his friends who have embraced me.
Utah changed me. It showed me that nothing is as simple as it seems. Every person is trying their best. That forgiveness is necessary. Here I saw human nature at its best and worst. Here I saw grey in a black and white picture.
Here I failed and tried again. I built a safe place for my boys. I built a team of specialists. Here I fought to protect them and care for them. Here I learned every nook and cranny of the "hob-bspital with the orange toy room."
Here I learned to love, to trust, to let go. I learned faith and prayer. And unexpectedly Utah taught me that I am worth loving in return too.