This is a post I had written last August but forgot to publish…. Reading it was a good reminder of what amazing friends I have.
I’m Mormon. Most people know this. Some of my friends are, some of them aren’t, and I love them all equally. Earlier this week I was hanging out with a group of friends where it came up that a mutual friend had just left for his mission. He is passed the age of 19, and I know a lot of young men feel pressured to go right after they turn 19. The friend who had gone to his farewell said it had taken some time, and though they knew the reason, they didn’t know if they should be the one to tell the rest of us. That’s when my other friend cut in and said, “It doesn’t matter.”
I’ve always had great respect for my friends, and that little exchange earned each friend more. The one for honoring the friend and not spreading what is probably very personal, and the other for getting right down to the fact that it doesn’t matter one bit what prevented the missionary from going earlier. In all honesty, it doesn’t matter. I don’t know why some people think it does, because it doesn’t.
There is a lot of pressure on young men to serve missions right when they turn 19, or as the case is now, when they are 18. Some are prepared and go, some are not prepared and go anyway. Some are not prepared and take the time to prepare before going, which is fine. Some are not prepared and choose not to go, which is also fine. I really think you should only serve a mission if it is what you want. Not what your ward wants, not even what your parents want, but what you want. In any case, for those that choose not to or take a little longer, we don’t know what their struggles are, what their lives are like. I’ve never been one to care, though sometimes that has been a struggle. Gossip and judgment are some of my biggest struggles. Not so much about people in the ward, but about ex-friends and whatnot.
Luckily, I am fortunate in my group of friends. They help me to be a better and stronger person, and a better and stronger Latter Day Saint. My language is not always clean and neither is my choice of movies (V for Vendetta is one of my all-time favorite movies ever), but the examples in friendship and love my friends and family set for me is more important to me.