Six years later I still remember the nervous sweats I had as my airplane landed on the tarmac at Sky Harbor airport. I hadn't seen my family in eighteen months. Okay, if I'm going to be honest I'm sure I saw some member of my family a few months prior on the Square, but this was the first time I'd been home in a year and a half. I called Tempe Square my home for those eighteen months, and I learned more life lessons during that short time than in my previous 21 years of living. Six years ago I stepped off an airplane a new woman, unsure of how this new woman would adapt to this strange place I used to call home.
Since that February morning in 2007 that new woman graduated from college, married her soul mate, and birthed a beautiful baby boy. I love being that new woman, and I owe much of my identity to those lesson I learned in eighteen months.
I learned that sometimes there is a greater power gently prodding us towards experiences that will make us better. I call this greater power God.
I learned that it's possible to be homesick for heaven. Even if I don't remember what it was like, there were moments when I felt a distinct ache to be there again.
I learned that it's okay to be scared. When I was scared I made it a point to say a prayer, and afterwards I felt a little braver.
I experienced a heavy heartache previously uncharted by my little ticker. I imagine it's the type of heartache God feels when his children hurt, or hurt others.
I learned that what I want to happen isn't always what God wants to happen.
I learned how to talk to strangers about ANYTHING.
I learned that miracles happen every. single. day.
I learned how to love people even when it's hard to love them.
I learned that I can do hard things.
I deepened my testimony of Jesus Christ. He lives.
I learned to see people as my brothers and sisters. Looking at them through this lens instantly changes your perspective.
I learned that it is always better to obey the commandments.
I learned how to tune out the world.
I learned how to grocery shop for myself.
I learned the consequence of not following the spirit.
I caught a glimpse of how wonderful eternity will be.
I learned how to strengthen my testimony.
I learned that deciding to serve a mission was one of the smartest things I've done.