This summer, I read. I read books that enlightened. I read books that entertained. I read books from my childhood. I read books that kept me awake at night because I was so fired up about the ideas that they gave me. These books played a huge role in the development of my soul. For that, I am grateful.
This summer, I ran. I ran and I ran and I ran. Earlier in the year, I set a goal to run a half-marathon and put in some half-hearted effort during the semester to achieve said goal. With my new summer schedule of only working part-time, I found huge chunks of unoccupied time. Running long distances helped me to fill that time, but it also helped me in so many other ways. Running a half-marathon taught me that I can push myself and endure. For that, I am grateful.
This summer, I climbed mountains (both literally and figuratively). I saw the beautiful world that is out my back door. I explored by myself and with people that have become some of my dearest friends. I faced challenges by simply going forward, one step at a time. I learned how capable I am of doing hard things and being able to still appreciate the views that surround me. For that, I am grateful.
This summer, I loved. I loved my missionaries that I had the opportunity to teach in the MTC. I loved my family members and was able to spend quality time at home. I loved my friends and roommates with all of my heart. I hosted karaoke parties and ate completos in good company. I used to have a hard time defining what I like to do ... but I learned this summer that my dearest and deepest hobby is loving others. For that, I am grateful.
This summer, I learned to trust Heavenly Father. Again and again and again, I learn the same lesson. At the beginning of the summer, I had to decide whether or not I would work continue to work for the MTC or if I would quit for the summer to do EFY again. Even though making the decision between two good things might seem like a silly thing to have anxiety about, it was such a difficult decision for me. I ultimately felt like I needed to stay at the MTC. I wasn't sure why, but I knew that that was the decision that Heavenly Father wanted me to make ... even with that knowledge, I cried as I declined my EFY contracts.
However, like always, Heavenly Father could see so much more than I could. I had so many incredible experiences this summer that would have been impossible had I decided to work for EFY. I wouldn't have been able to see my brother in the MTC as he prepared for his two year mission in Poland. I wouldn't have been able to be on our ward Ultimate Frisbee team. I wouldn't have been able to explore or read or run. I couldn't possibly have foreseen those experiences in April when I made the decision, but Heavenly Father could. He knows me. For that, I am grateful.