Tuesday, April 5

The Friend I Would Have Wanted

One of the feelings I took away from General Conference was the importance of people. The worth of amazing women. Behold your children. Sacrificing projects to serve others. The rescue. And looking at my own life, it's interesting to see how focusing on people has colored my recent decisions - from how I spend my time to how I look at others.

When I was younger, I would have given anything to have a friend who really understood and cared about me. Someone who saw life the way I did and I could just talk to, honestly, and see my own life in his or her reflection. Well, I'd give almost anything. By the time social groups had evolved in my peerage, I saw people around me who seemed to fit in with peer groups, but the common denominators were crude jokes, profanity, drinking, wild parties... and even though everyone thanked me for "not being judgmental" ... it didn't mean that they sought out my company... and I was never on the short list to be invited anywhere for anything.

Paired with the massive lack of self-esteem that came with the adolescent years themselves, not being attracted to girls, and trying to extricate sin from my being, I definitely was going through some rough times. There were dozens of times when I wondered if anyone would care, or even notice, if I just disappeared. Once I missed school for an extended period and when I saw a classmate again she was shocked to see me; she had thought I had moved suddenly.

It didn't help that as I looked at my life I saw inordinate blessings - hence the feeling that being depressed or sad because of seemingly trite situations was another sin of which I needed to repent. I though I had no right to be down, which meant that when I was, I felt incredible guilt mixed with the pain... only pushing me lower.

On the outside I always had the perfect mask... strong, happy, optimistic, loving, kind... but inside I was a wreck.

My prayers didn't bring the relief I wanted. I would pray for peace, and the Lord would tell me He loved me... and my mind would continue to churn. I would pray for hope, and He would tell me He loved me, and I still couldn't see anything worth living for. I would pray for help in living each day, and He would tell me that He loved me... and the next day would seem even harder than the one before.

It seemed like there was no hope - no progress - no way out. But as time went on, the answers became clearer... and I realized they held the answers I had needed all along. When my mind was a blur, I prayed for peace, and I knew God loved me... and if I did my best, everything would be for my good. I prayed for hope, and the Lord helped me see that He knew I could grow... that my trials and my pain would enable me to live and thrive in every type of life no matter what happened. I prayed for help, and He gave me His trust - the divine trust that I could stand at the front of the battle with sin and despair... and not give in... but grow in my struggles to become the man He saw in me.

Today I realize that I've always had a friend by my side. Someone to talk to when times are hard, a shoulder to cry on when I'm alone. Someone to bounce ideas off of, or tell my newest thoughts, or to ask for feedback on a post before I post it here on (Gay) Mormon Guy. A Friend who is never too busy, always available, and will never tell me to go away... One who watches over me in my sleep and protects me from danger, warns me and knows the thoughts and dreams of my heart. God is my best friend. And He's the best friend that I could ever hope for.

It took years for me to develop my friendship - years to give up my fears, to learn of Him, and to slowly learn to listen to His voice and trust in Him and His teachings... but it was worth every minute... spent on my knees, in the scriptures, at the temple, and speaking with Him in the course of my everyday.

I've finally found a Friend. The only thing He asks in return is that I keep His commandments... and unconditionally love and befriend others. So that's my goal - be the friend I would have wanted. The friend I did want. Someone who will drop everything at a moment's notice, and who cares about others more than they can imagine. Someone who will move Heaven and Earth to help them choose the right, and will never give up on them.

I have a long ways to go before I get there. But Conference left me with a greater hope and a greater desire to be that friend, and find ways to love others and help them come unto Him.


  1. My teenage years were similar, I was depressed most of the time and struggled to be able to get through it all. Life was Hell. Like you I found my best friend in God. He has helped me out no matter what, even when I turned my back on him. Now I try to reflect the light and love of my best friend (God) to others. Now I can say my life is vastly different and I have found peace and happiness and hope to help others find the same.

  2. Awesome lesson to see in conference. I'm afraid I was looking much less broad in my participation in conference. Thanks for broadening my perspective.


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