Fourscore and seven years ago, (and by that, I mean the summer of 2011) we made a summer bucket list. And honestly, we accomplished maybe half the things on said list before Cody went off to Hawaii. And I was disappointed maybe, when I looked at the list at the end of the summer, but I forgot about it, because you know – that’s life.
In July, Cody surprised me with a Saturdate to Spiral Jetty – one of our unchecked adventures from ye olde bucket list. (Our high school AP Art History teacher should be pleased, since this particular item came from his own dictated bucket list).
The adventure included an unexpectedly MIND-BLOWING burger in Brigham City, because let’s be honest, burgers are our main food group in the summer. We hadn’t planned on stopping, but road-trip munchies are real life, guys. Brigham is not a big place, but it’s a pretty safe bet that if one restaurant is PACKED on a rainy day, it’s got good eats. And it did. Bert’s Cafe, if I had a hat, I’d tip it to you.
YOU GOTTA GO.
ALSO, we passed the Golden Spike Museum. And although we weren’t willing to pay the twenty for admission, we did enjoy peeping through the fence at all the people in the middle of nowhere throwing some DRAMA DOWN in their period costumes. I was not even mad. Then a really old sweet lady let us in anyway, and we just lingered with her and her giant dog, taking it all in. HISTORY. HUMANITY. (Fist pump). Killin’ it in them coat tails.
Spiral Jetty was quite a drive, but there is a lot to be said for taking the time to know your state. Also, are there much more summery things than feet on the dashboard, miles and miles rushing past your window, while good music is tossed from your speakers on the breeze?
Once we got out there, it was salty, and disorienting as HECK. So much fun. But brains NEED frames of reference. And the further you walk past the Spiral Jetty, the less distinction there is about anything around you. Especially with the sun glaring. I mean, was I on the ground? In the sky? Where did the water begin? Where did I begin? Hahah. This was some existential crap, people. But really. It feels like you are on another planet. We kept saying, if this is what the pioneers found first, and STAYED, they were some faithful folks. It’s a very strange place. But so, so awesome.
My Recommendations for those looking to check it from your bucket list:
*BRING WATER. The salt will suck it from your lungs like a dementor’s kiss sucks your soul. Don’t wanna end up like the poor little brines (see above). R.I.P. brine shrimp.
*Go around sunset. A friend tipped me off to this after seeing some of our pictures. The way the earth is the sky out there, I can imagine that the salt just reflects and becomes the sunset. Like you have sky underneath, around, and above you. I don’t even know what it would be like to be engulfed by the sunset – to have it wrap all around you – but I’d like to know.
*EAT A BERT’S BURGER BEFOREHAND.
I Can’t emphasize that last bullet point enough. It was a good adventure. And beyond it being unbelievably rad/tender that Code remembered and planned the day, that adventure answered some of my prayers lately. It’s a little thing, and maybe a silly thing, but re-visiting an adventure planned four years ago made me think.
Let’s have some real talk.
Comparison is the thief of joy. True? True. But it can be so tempting. And I think unless you are superhuman, on some level, it crosses your mind. For me, it’s when I see people my age and feel like I need to be where they are. For example, the people my age who are GRADUATED from college. I can’t fathom that for myself right now. And I can be disappointed in myself about that – like, why don’t I have my stuff together fully or have a perfect five-year plan, or why does my five-year plan keep CHANGING and CHANGING if I’m doing my best?
But what I learned from Spiral Jetty, abstract as it may seem, is that while goals, plans, and deadlines are important parts of life (but really, don’t get this Minnesota missionary preaching on goals. I LOVE THEM) it’s also okay to adjust plans, according to the Lord. I may only have half the college credits of some of my peers, but when I look at the education that the Lord has individually given me, how can I feel anything but grateful? So many semesters and adventures that started out feeling aimless, clueless, and lost have ended up being my dearest tutorials into who He is and who I am. Why would I waste that grateful perspective away by comparing, or trying to hold the Omniscient Almighty to my little plans, when He has so much more for us than we can know for ourselves? There is a purpose in it all.
What I’ve learned from life and bucket lists and majors and career plans and also every year of my life, is that the Lord has better plans than me. It’s that not now, doesn’t mean not ever. Like Spiral Jetty – just because we didn’t accomplish it that summer didn’t mean we never would or that I should’ve let that hope die so easily. The Lord doesn’t view us with the same deadlines, labels, and pressures we put on ourselves. I honestly believe that. I believe that He has great expectations for us – greater than we can dream, deadline, or map out for ourselves. He, above all, is working to see those expectations achieved.
I believe that part of faith is believing that if we keep pressing forward in righteousness, the important things on our list will take place. Maybe not in our timing, but in His, which in the end is always the perfect time anyway.
My favorite scripture is 2 Nephi 31:20, “Wherefore, ye must press forward, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the words of Christ, behold, thus saith the Father, ye shall have eternal life.”
I think it exemplifies this freedom from personal deadlines and the resultant limitless possibility for our lives. Twice, the Lord encourages us to press forward. Pressing forward to me isn’t a passive thing. It’s not something you can fully plan out years in advance and sail through. It is persistent and continuous faith. It is humility – the willingness to go back to the drawing board again and again, and again – as often as the Lord requires – with love in our hearts for the Lord for testing us and for the experience we acquire. It is trust that the things we hope for – marriage, schooling, career, opportunity, etc, will take place – if not in the time frame we have set, then in His.
And guess what? It’s 100 percent okay if it happens differently than you thought.
I know God is real. I know He wants us to be happy. I know He is in our lives. I know the route to our eternal life and the experience each of us needs is rarely made of shortcuts. Rather, it’s the long way, at times, a feeling-lost way, but always, always the purposeful way. I am so thankful for a God who wants to teach us that in mortality, there are disappointments and delays, but in the eternities we are beyond that.
There is no end to what we can become. There is no end to what we can do. We are endless, without deadlines, with His help and His love.