DISCLAIMER: This post is more so that I can write than it is for others to read. I do not intend to scare off any parties interested in reading my thoughts, but I consider this to be fair warning that it is very self-indulgent.

I don't know exactly why, but from where I am at right now it feels that if I look back on the experiences of the past few years everything feels exceptionally familiar. It is a little bit bothersome to me because I cognitively understand that this isn't true. In the past few years of my life I learned a new language, lived in a foreign country, got married, and earned a college degree. The sad part is, that these amazing experiences have come to feel too familiar. Rather than looking back on each of these life-altering occasions with enough reverence to consider them individually, they are all lumped together for me in a bland, homogenous memory with the title The Past Few Years. Their familiarity in my mind has caused them to loose their unique identity. As things familiar I have stopped seeking the richness of these blessings in my life, and reached a point where they are boring facts. I am married. I am a college graduate. I speak Russian. I am a Latter-day Saint.

Recently I have been fortunate enough to have a couple of experiences that have caused life to been come marvelously unfamiliar again.
The first thing that happend was I found myself in a position of want. It was humorously trite in comparison with the want and need of people I have met in my life, lasting no more than 72 hours. I don't want to say too much about this because I think that Dani is waiting to share all the fun details in one of her blog posts, but I will say that finances were very tight for the first couple days we were in Nashville.
The other thing that happened was when Dani and I went to look for Fireflies in one the big parks in Nashville. I know that I probably sound like a 3rd grader right now, but that was all it took. We pulled into the park at about 9:15, and couldn't see any fireflies (Dani calls them Lightning Bugs). Suddenly we saw one little flicker, then a second later we saw another. As the sun set we were able to see more of the magnificent little zips of yellow. It was such a wonderful experience! I wish that all the people that I love in my life could have been there with me to watch the fireflies! Even thought I have seen these splendid little creatures before, seeing them this time was just special for some reason. It felt unfamiliar.
The last thing that happend was I went to church. Of the three things I have listed, the weird thing is that this is the one thing that should have felt familiar since I do it weekly. Now, I am not trying to say that church is better in Nashville that it was in Provo. Members here seem equally susceptible to the same weaknesses as the members in my BYU ward. The difference was that I showed up and didn't know a soul. And I loved it. I didn't find myself looking for the other couples that I know, or getting distracted by the talk with other members of the Elders Quorum about ward basketball. I just sat, and was able to be still. I was able to worship. I have taken the sacrament many times these past few years, but this sunday I actually felt like I renewed my covenants. I didn't learn any new facts at church, but the superficiality of my familiarity with the gospel became apparent to me.

On the other side of these experiences life feels exciting. Sure, moving to a new area was an unfamiliar experience, and so is starting law school, but for some reason these three experiences stand out as the ones that have really caused me to feel refreshed and grateful for a new beginning of sorts.

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