Tuesday, May 12, 2015

You are never alone.

Hello everyone!

Sorry about my lack in writing lately. I've had a very stressful several days and I haven't exactly found the desire to write much of anything. Today, however, I found a little bit of drive and began writing letters of gratitude to different people in my life. I feel like it'll help me to be more grateful for everything and everyone that's in my life.

Anyways, lately I've been feeling really down. And I can't explain why. It just kind of happens.

I've been feeling very lonely lately. I feel like I've been abandoned, forgotten, rejected, and pushed away by just about everyone around me here lately. It's caused some pretty negative thoughts to come upon me and has attacked my brain quite a bit. I know I'm not really alone as the people who truly love me and care are still there. I just feel sometimes like they don't care and that thought hurts me.

Loneliness is not a pleasant feeling. I personally have a fear of rejection. I know from experience what it's like to not feel like you have anyone on your side. This first occurred a few years ago when I was about 17 and it's been happening again here lately. I've noticed significant changes to my daily personal life that have perhaps affected me more than I originally believed. I feel like certain people are shoving me out the door in a sense and they want nothing to do with me. Is that really true though? I have no idea. I feel like we all feel like that at a certain point or another though.

During this time of sheer bitter loneliness, I have found a small, yet driving force help me ever so slightly. Hope. Hope has played a huge role in the last year of my life and I can say truthfully, has helped me overcome the greatest obstacles of my life.

When I was serving as a full time missionary in Italy in the city of Milan, I received a phone call from my mission president(essentially the man in charge of us missionaries), telling me that my father had had a heart attack. I remember being filled with fear and even rage to a certain extent. I was serving the Lord with all my heart. How or why would He let that happen? I didn't know. I distinctly remember getting down on my knees and asking God what His will was and what it was that He needed me to understand. That night, I was reading in the Book of Mormon. I read in Ether chapter 12 verse 4, which states:

"Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with suretyhope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God."

This verse of scripture touched my heart and helped me understand that despite the difficulties that were before me, I needed to have hope. I needed to believe that things would eventually get better, even if I didn't understand why they were happening. And eventually, things got better. It got easier. I was able to push through all of the long, difficult days even when I just wanted to throw in the towel. 

I feel like my life right now is the same. I feel alone. I feel very down about a lot of different things. However, what little drive I have left to hope is still pushing me. I have hope and faith that things will get better. I will one day understand. I don't understand now, but that's okay. In the end none of us are ever truly alone. God is always there. He loves us. His Son, Jesus Christ is that driving source of hope that always pushes us along. But there's a catch, we have to let Him in. He won't push us forward if we don't let Him. So let Him in. 

Sweet dreams.

Matthew





Tuesday, May 5, 2015

I belong here.

Hello everyone!

I just want to apologize that I didn't write yesterday. I had a pretty rough day to be honest and didn't really have a great desire to write about it. Maybe one day I'll share.

Today, however, was an amazing day! I really want to share the experience I had tonight.

I was invited a few weeks ago to attend the open house to the Payson, Utah Temple. For those of you who don't know what that means, I'll explain. In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints we construct temples. These places are sacred and are dedicated to the Lord. They are places of refuge from the spiritual destruction that surrounds us and the difficulties of everyday life. In the temple, worthy members of the church may enter and make covenants, or promises, with God. We promise something to Him and He promises to bless us in return. The temple is the place where we make very sacred and important covenants with Him and gain a richer and greater understanding of our Father in Heaven's plan of salvation, or His plan of happiness.

Before a temple is dedicated it is open to the public for frequent tours of the inside of the building. Thankfully, I was invited to attend with a friend of mine and her family as they had some extra tickets. It was my first time attending one so I was really excited for the experience.

The tour began actually in a chapel close by the actual temple. We watched a short video that talked about temples and why they are important. After we went to the temple. As we entered and took the tour, it was impossible to not notice the sheer beauty and magnificence of it all. The floor work, stained glass windows, the way everything was so precisely done and finished. It was a work of beauty. It was breathtaking.

As we walked through the various rooms and corridors I felt at peace. As we walked into the celestial room I felt the Spirit. If I can try to explain that I'd describe the Spirit as a feeling of happiness or peace that you feel when you do something that's right or when something just feels right to you. We call it the Holy Ghost. His purpose is to testify of truthfulness and righteousness. He helps us feel and recognize God's love for us. It is a feeling of great joy. I felt that as I walked into let's just say one of the most important rooms of the temple, the celestial room. I felt this overwhelming feeling that I belong there. I did't want to leave. Even though the temple had not yet been dedicated I felt the desire to be there. I felt completely at peace just thinking about how amazing it would be to be back there again after the temple had been dedicated. I felt happy.

Next up was the sealing room. What does that mean? Okay, so in the Church the family is central to God's plan of happiness. Look at your family and just think about how happy they make you. It feels pretty great right? You love your family. I love my family. That's how it's supposed to be. I'm not a father, but I desire to be one day. My own father has shared with me how he felt as he held me as a baby for the first time and he's expressed to me so many times how impossible it is for him to show really how much he loves my brother and I. We are so infinitely more loved by God than by our own family, as hard or impossible that may seem to comprehend. So He obviously wants the best for us. He wants us to be happy not only here, but for all time and all eternity. Even after death. So, He has restored the very power that can seal, or bind families together for all eternity. Till death do us part does not have to be. At death we won't be separated from our loved ones and from our families. The sealing room is where this sacred binding takes place. As I walked into the room I remembered the day I was sealed to my family and I was reminded of the joy I felt then even though I was much younger. In every sealing room there is a mirror on either wall, directly facing each other so that the reflection goes on forever. As I looked in those mirrors today, an overwhelming sensation came over me. I want to be able and stand there and look into those mirrors after having been married and sealed to my future wife, whomever that may be. The sealing power was given so that we could be able to feel the joy we feel here with our loved ones on an incomprehensible scale forever and ever. "And they lived happily ever after" can actually be 100% true in this case.

After the tour we walked around the outside of the temple for a little bit and took some pictures. We enjoyed the beauty of the edifice and it's grounds. We enjoyed each other's company. As I looked at the temple I felt that overwhelming feeling of belonging. I belong here. That phrase has such a deeper meaning to me now. I belong HERE. I belong here on earth with my family and the people that have been placed in my life. I am known. God knows ME, personally. He knows each and every one of us and our needs. He knows who needs to be in our life and when to bring them into the picture at the right time.

My closing statements are these. You belong here. Look around you and at your life. Look at the people who are in your life and look and see the happiness and joy they bring you. It's all part of God's plan. He wants us to be happy. He wants us to see the big picture. I don't quite see all of it just yet, nor do I believe that anyone does, but I do believe that we can understand enough to know that we are loved and that we truly do belong here.

Sweet dreams.

Matthew


Sunday, May 3, 2015

Run faster.


Hello everyone!

This morning I would like to share with y'all a nightmare that I had this past night. Unfortunately enough for me, even after taking the curve ball, my thoughts couldn't settle down and it kept me up until very late. On top of that, when I finally was able to fall asleep I had a terrible nightmare. I'd like to share it to the best of my memory and share with you how I reacted when I woke up from it.

The Nightmare

I was standing in a dark room. There was absolutely no light coming in or going out. Complete darkness. It was very ominous. I looked around, but saw nothing. I began to hear voices... Calling my name. I began to look around frantically as if to see who... or what it was that was calling for me. I began shouting the names of friends and family, the people who are closest to me. But as I opened my mouth to shout their names, no noise was heard. Nothing could be heard coming from my mouth. Then, all of a sudden, a large group of my friends and family appeared in a circle around me. They were all about 20 feet away from me and they were all spread apart about 20 feet from each other, and they were all calling my name. I began running towards one of my family members as fast as I could. However, my legs seemed heavy, it was like I was running through quick sand. I was stumbling left and right and it seemed an eternity before I finally reached them. As I extended my hand to them, the unexpected occurred... I watched in horror as their eyes rolled back into their head and they fell backwards, cold and lifeless. I felt nausea instantly swarm my entire body. I crumpled to the ground wanting to scream and cry out, but nothing happened. I then heard a voice... "run faster." I sprang up to my feet and began running towards the next person in the circle as fast as I could. I fought against the halting force that grasped me with all of my strength. My legs felt like they were going to burst from the sheer pain. Actually, my whole body felt that way. Upon arriving to the next person, I extended my hands out to grab them, but I watched again as the same thing happened to them as had happened to the first. Their eyes rolling back into their head, and them finally falling backwards, cold and lifeless. And again I heard the voice say, "run faster." It was taunting me, mocking me... It knew that I was running as fast as I could to save them, but it knew that I would fail in the end. It had become a game. A sick, cruel game that I had been thrown into. I stood up and began to repeat the process. I ran and fought to the next person to ultimately see the same thing happen to them. It never seemed to end. And every single time, the taunting of the voice came and said, "run faster."

Waking up

I woke up in a panic. I silently yelled out the name of one of these people closest to me(whose name I won't repeat here) and asked, "where are you?" I was hyperventilating. I was trembling madly. My heart was pounding. I could feel the nausea. My whole body was in pain as if I had actually been running as fast as I could. I felt a single drop of sweat slide down my forehead, past my temple and down my cheek to my chin. I sat up and curled into a fetal position. My breathing was shaky. I tried to calm myself by taking in deep breaths and letting them out slowly. I could't stop shaking. It felt like there was an earthquake occurring inside my entire body. The physical trauma wasn't what worried me however. It was the mental trauma. It's always the mental affects that worry me. As I sat there, motionless, my mind began to twist and turn as it remembered the dream. I whispered to myself, "it's not real, it's not real." But, unfortunately, there is a part of my brain that refuses to believe this and has thus blurred ever so slightly the line between reality and dream. A part of my mind began to believe that these things were true. I then realized that that would be preposterous. Nothing like that would ever happen. And I was right on that subject. But, unfortunately for me, my mind tend to continue to spin and jump to more conclusions. Conclusions that can have a much more damaging affect. The thought began to twist around in my head that I was inadequate. I wasn't able to save the people I care about most, but I was cruelly put to the task. They died because of my failure.

I understand that that is not how life works. Unless you're a surgeon, then I guess, kind of. But in everyday life that's just not how things work. No one we love would ever die due to our failures. I realize that. However, the feeling of inadequacy remains. My mind tricks itself into believing that I am truly an inadequate and weak person. It has tricked me into believing that no matter how fast I run, I will never be good enough, I will never be fast enough, and I will never be able to stop those things from happening.

As traumatizing as all of this may sound, I did learn a valuable lesson from it. I can't fix anyone or their problems. That seems to be the lesson that I'm learning these days. I've always been an empathetic person. I've always wanted to be a shoulder to cry on so to speak when the people I care about are hurting. I just want to help, even in some small way. Even if that way is just by comforting them. I'm certainly not the best at it. But it doesn't stop me from trying. Perhaps that is the reason for the nightmare that I had last night? Should I stop trying? Should I keep pressing forward even though I really have no power over the situation? It's all very complicated. I still haven't figured the answer out quite yet.

After settling down I turned myself over into a child's pose like position and offered a prayer to my Heavenly Father. I did this because, well I'm on the top bunk and getting out of bed to pray is a huge task, especially at 4 a.m., and because prayer comforts me. I was able to share with my Heavenly Father what I had dreamed, how it was making me feel, and how I truly felt about my life in this current moment. It comforted me to know that He was listening. He always listens, even if we don't feel like He does. And that fact gives me comfort.

It's now Sunday. I'm going to church in about an hour. The nightmare still plagues me a little and I fear that I am going to dwell on it for too long. However, I have hope that things will be okay in the end. Sometimes I just have to fake it. Today may be one of those times. We'll see I guess. It's really just days like today that make me wish that I was back in Italy as a missionary. Things seemed much simpler then and much less complicated than they are now. But it's all a part of life. It's part of the journey. Now I guess I have to decide to wether I should stay on this pace or run faster.

Sweet dreams. Buona Domenica.

Matthew

Saturday, May 2, 2015

The curve ball.



Hello everyone!

Tonight I just want to share my thoughts on a few things.

Life is full of emotion. Happiness, sadness, anger, excitement... You get it. Lots of emotions. Finding a healthy balance of these emotions is a daunting task and seems ever more impossible with all the trials and difficulties that exist in our day to day lives.

I'll be the first to admit that I'm a pretty broken person. I've seen my fair share of trials and opposition in my day, received unfortunately from people who were close to me and others who should have done something about it, but did not. I know what it feels like to have the so called "knife" being stabbed in your back by everyone that you think cares about you.  It's a tough thing to swallow and take and even forgive. After several years and several more life experiences I've been able to somewhat come to terms with these people and I have been able to forgive them, to a degree. The consequences of peoples' actions always exist. Thus, I am inwardly a somewhat damaged and broken individual. Their actions I fear will always haunt me to some degree. Fake it till you make, I guess, right?

Fortunately, as I stated before, I've found the ability to forgive them. I'm still working on balancing my emotions and the things I feel. I'm not the best at it. Actually, I'm pretty terrible at it. After a long time though, I've finally felt like I've gotten things under control. I've felt like this many times. Just recently being one of those times.

Next, I would like to speak about something that always seems to happen. The dreaded curve ball. The thing that the batter just was not expecting. These curve balls get thrown at us in a lot of ways. It depends on our reaction to them however that dictates their affects. If we crumble before them then they can destroy everything we've worked towards or damage it slightly. In some cases we still knock it out of the park and very, very far away from us. Many times I've been able to do just that. Other times, unfortunately, a curve ball has been thrown at me and has broken me to pieces. Tonight I feel like one of those curve balls, something that came out of the blue that I absolutely wasn't expecting, but walked right into anyways, was thrown directly at me. How did I react? Not so well I'd say. Sad face.

For those who don't know this about me, I often jump to conclusions and I worry way too much about things that I probably shouldn't worry about... But I still do anyway. Oh the joys of being me. It's in my nature. It's who I've always been and who I always will be, I believe. Do I feel like this curve ball completely destroyed me? Absolutely not. Did it hurt? Well, yeah. You try taking a hit from a curve ball that you didn't see coming and tell me that it didn't hurt. Point is, sometimes these things happen. React well to the curve balls in your lives. Or at least do your best to do so. I crumbled a little bit today from one and it'll probably be on my mind for quite a while. Should I let it? Probably not, but will I? Probably so. Unfortunately, that's who I am as a person. Oh well. I have a dirty Dr. Pepper from Swig so that helps to some degree I guess. Well, it quenches my thirst, so that's definitely beneficial.

In conclusion, don't run from the curve ball. Choke up on the bat and swing away. Sometimes you'll still get caught off guard, but react well. React better than I did today. I'm just blogging about it because I have no other idea of how I can deal with my thoughts. So, if you made it this far, thanks for sticking around and thanks for putting up with this rant, so to speak.

Also, try a dirty Dr. Pepper. It's a Dr. Pepper with coconut syrup in it. It's super buono. That's italian for good. You can get them at Swig or Sonic... SPONSOR. Or you could even just make them at home too I guess. Not bad.

Till next time!

Sweet dreams.

Matthew


The Staircase.



Hello everyone!


So, y'all are in for a real treat today. I had a very interesting dream last night that I'd like to share. No nightmares that I can remember, so you'll have to wait for one of those. While the dream is, let's say, up for interpretation, I have my own idea of what it may represent. Enjoy.

In my dream last night I saw a massive, seemingly infinitely long staircase. It was something that I had never seen before. The stairs were white and seemed to glow faintly. When I looked down I saw a silhouette at the base of the staircase, looking up it. The silhouette looked around for a few moments then hesitantly placed one foot on the first step and looked down. It seemed shocked that it had placed it's foot down on this first step. Then, looking back up the long staircase before it, it began ascending the staircase.

Upon reaching a certain point however, the silhouette stopped. It began to look around. Myself, having a bird's eye view it seemed like of the entire scene, began to look around as well for who or what the silhouette was seeking. The silhouette turned itself around and looked down to find another silhouette sitting down on one the steps just a few lower than itself. The silhouette turned and looked up towards the top of the staircase then back down at this other silhouette. Then, something I wasn't expecting occurred. The silhouette turned to the other silhouette, extended it's hand towards them and waited. The other silhouette stared at that extended hand for a few moments. Hesitantly, the silhouette cupped it's hands together and held them to it's chest and looked down to the ground. The first silhouette then took a step down to get closer and extended it's hand further towards this second silhouette. The second silhouette hesitated for a moment. Looking back up at the first then back down to the ground a few times, finally it reached out it's hand and accepted the hand of the first silhouette. the second silhouette stood up and hand and hand they both began to ascend to the higher levels of the staircase. Sometimes quickly, other times very slowly, but they kept moving upwards.

The next thing I knew, I was waking up. When I looked at my phone, it was 6:43 a.m. I played in bed for a few hours pondering the dream and it's meaning. I've come to the conclusion that it may have several meanings.

To me, the staircase represents our life. We always keep moving upwards towards something better, that something we may not always comprehend what, but there is a top of the staircase somewhere right? However, in like manner, arriving at the top of a staircase requires movement. I don't know about anyone else, but I've climbed some pretty steep staircases on the BYU campus and with the higher altitude than I'm used to, often find myself winded upon reaching the top. This staircase seemed infinitely longer. It requires diligence and effort. We may get tired along the way, but something better is awaiting us.

Next, come the silhouettes. These can be interpreted in a number of ways I feel. For me, the first silhouette represented myself. I began moving up towards the top of the staircase, perhaps hesitant at first, but I got started. The second silhouette, from what I can gather, may represent someone in my life that needs my help.

I personally don't believe that I can't help anyone in a great way. After all, I am human, I make myriads of mistakes everyday. However, I do believe that the gospel of Jesus Christ and His teachings can help anyone and everyone. His teachings of faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the holy ghost, and enduring to the end teach us not only how we can be happy and successful in life, but how we can help others do the same. It's called being an instrument in His hands when we turn outwards and help those around us. No matter how deeply rooted we can be in the gospel, however bad things still happen. We still suffer sometimes. We still have to face trials and difficulties. Does that mean we are hated or have done something foul or wrong in God's eyes? No, I don't believe that for a second. These trials are a part of life. Maybe they aren't always wanted or desired, but they occur anyway. I don't have all the answers to life and there is a lot more that I could learn. I believe that when people suffer like this, the best thing we can do is be a friend to them. Extend that hand out towards them as Jesus Christ would do. Be there for them. As demonstrated by the second silhouette however, they have to be willing to let you in and not push you away. A task, which can seem impossible for some people who are so damaged that they believe it may be beyond all repair. To them I say, have faith in God. This life is too difficult as is to not let in the ones who love us and care about us most and just end up pushing them away instead.

My hope in sharing this dream and my watered down interpretation of it is that those who read it will have a greater desire to help others around them. But, with this comes a warning. We cannot be fakers. Many people are damaged by the cold, stinging words of others. Rumors, gossip and hateful words damage people's trust in others. These things have lasting affects. I have had to live that personally in my life a few years ago. And I know people today who had to endure such things. We may find ourselves at a certain point and find another silhouette who wants to give up and extend our hand to them and they respond negatively, due to our own actions and due to the things we may have done to them, directly or indirectly, in the past.

To close for me the perfect example of love is Jesus Christ. He never spoke ill of others and always extended a hand of mercy to those who were in need of it. My hope is that one day, we will all be able to do the same.

Sweet dreams. 

Matthew

Friday, May 1, 2015

A Little About Me.



Hello everyone!

I'm new to this whole blogging thing so I figured I'd get things started with a small introduction of me besides the intro found on my profile.

I was born and raised in Panama City, Florida to Joe and Michelle Gainer. I attended Mosley High School and graduated in 2012. At the age of 11 I was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints alongside my younger brother, Josh. Since then my life has taken a drastic turn towards bigger and better things. I have been blessed beyond all belief and cannot deny that.

At 19 years of age, I made the resolve to serve a 2 year, full time church mission. Now, a mission in the LDS church is very different from what many who are not members of the Church may initially believe. It's not like we go to Africa or some other place for two weeks to build houses and such for the poor. It is a 2 year, full time proselyting mission. I literally talked to people about my religious beliefs on a daily basis. Literally I walked up to random people on the streets and began talking to them about my religion. No pressure right? So basically how it worked is I sent in a mission call packet to the Church's headquarters declaring my willingness and desire to serve a mission. Within about a month I received a call letter back stating where I would be serving and when I would be reporting to my missionary service. I was called to serve in the Italy, Milan Mission, comprised of northern Italy. I was called to learn the Italian language and to preach to the people of Italy and teach them the Gospel of Jesus Christ, that is, His teachings that show us how we can have a better life here on earth and ultimately the way to truly return to Him after all of this. I won't go into full detail, but I will often refer to my mission and to the events in it and things I learned from it in later posts. I will also often refer to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, because it is something that is of upmost importance to me. Needless to say, I loved my mission. I served from March 20, 2013 to March 4, 2015.

Fast forward. I now live in Provo, Utah and am currently attending Brigham Young University. I'm majoring in communications with an emphasis in public relations.

This is where things get interesting. Buckle up, boys and girls.

I jump around a lot so I'm sorry about this, but one of the inspirations I had for this blog was actually something very personal to me. Something that I haven't shared with very many people at all. Almost 3 years ago I began to suffer from nightmares when I sleep. They are chronic and occur almost every night. I don't always remember them, but I do remember waking up several times in the middle of the night due to them. The ones that I do remember however are sometimes very damaging emotionally and mentally. My mind sometimes begins to believe that the things that happened in my nightmares are real and they begin to horrify me beyond all belief. Whether it be from losing a loved one to a bitter feeling of worthlessness, they all have some kind of affect on me. For a long time, and perhaps even still now in some way, I've viewed it as a kind of curse placed upon me. However, it wasn't until just recently, with the help of a very very dear friend, that I realized that perhaps God was trying to teach me something. Also, with these vivid and chronic nightmares comes vivid and meaningful dreams that occur on occasion. I can remember every single detail when I wake up. I hope to use this blog as a place where I can share and make commentary on both my dreams and nightmares and hopefully share my insight on how they relate to reality and perhaps the manner in which God is talking to me. I believe that every nightmare, no matter how hard they are to swallow, has some kind of deeper meaning that maybe I'm just not getting. So, take a step into my mind and see what I dream up and take a look at my thoughts. Hopefully you and I can figure something out.

I will periodically post events that occur in my life as well as my dreams/nightmares. Also, I will share many of the experiences I had in Italy on my mission and tie them into the things that I learn on a day to day basis. I hope y'all will enjoy this as much as me!

Sweet dreams.

Matthew