Some of my most cherished memories of Ryan include our late night pillow talks. We would lay in bed and talk about everything…our family, the gospel, work, and friends. I would often listen to Ryan in amazement and think how articulate and wise he was. I loved listening as he would share some of his deepest thoughts with me.
One night, I remember him talking to me about his desire to improve himself both physically and spiritually and he needed the help of his two brothers, Dallin and Trevor. Ryan made wrist bands with the words, “Get strong, Stay strong,” on them. It was a reminder to do everything in his power to get strong (i.e exercise, study his scriptures, spend time with his family) and then stay committed to being strong continually. He gave the wrist bands to both brothers so they could encourage one another to stay strong. Making that first initial commitment to change our lives for the better is the easy part, but staying committed to those goals and ambitions can be harder. One of Ryan’s favorite quotes is, “It is easier to be 100% committed than 99%.” – Thomas S. Monson. This quote tells me that even though staying strong to our commitments may be challenging, in the long run they will help us be successful.
In a talk Ryan gave before he left on an LDS mission he said this, “Commitment…to me means that you believe in something so much, that you love someone so greatly, that you would do anything, sacrifice everything, and have faith to make the sacrifice and prove your commitment.” We may feel alone at times and some commitments may seem too heavy for us to bare, or too hard, but as Ryan states in his talk, ” Our Father in Heaven knows we are going to fall and He knows we will feel like quitting, but I know with all of my heart, that if we search the crowd and find His face we will hear that voice that says —get up and win the race.”
When we make a commitment we often ‘dream’ of success and we ‘dream’ of the better things to come. It’s important to have those dreams. Repunzle in Tanlged is wise when she says, “Haven’t you ever had a dream?” I feel like the literal dreams we have are also beneficial and can help us see more clearly. I recently had a dream that I feel relates to getting and staying strong. The following is a description of my dream.
—-My family and I are together on vacation in Lake Powell and we are all cliff jumping.—
–In real life, cliff jumping isn’t my favorite hobby. When I’ve gone jumping in the passed, I would find myself standing on the edge of the cliff… staring down at what seemed like miles…and questioning my sanity…”Why would anyone want to do this?” —
However, today… in my dream…I felt differently…
It was my turn to jump…I begin running full speed toward the edge of the cliff…no hesitation…no fear. As the edge comes closer, I leap out as far as I can and fall down into the water below. When I emerge from the water I feel invigorated and determined. Soon, my invigoration turns to frustration and fear. The waves of the water crash into me making swimming difficult. It seems as if I’ve forgotten how to swim. Yet, I have no choice, but to keep trying, keep swimming, keep kicking, and pushing forward toward the shore. When I finally approach the shore, I see my sweet husband standing there with his arm outstretched, ready to pull me onto solid ground. I reach for his hand and as soon as his hand grasps mine, I feel an immediate sense of security and comfort. I embrace him and know that I can do anything. He is there for me and with his help I can do anything.” —-
When I woke up from this dream, I was able to draw some really cool parallels to life…my life more specifically. When we make a new commitment or set a goal, we are excited to begin our self improvement. Like in my dream…we run toward the cliff feeling confident and determined. Yet, as time goes on, we may begin to feel frustrated and fearful. ‘Swimming’ might seem hard. We may wonder why we set the goal or made the commitment in the first place. However, if we keep going and trying our best…even if it means barley keeping our head above water…there will always be someone there to cheer you on and and say…”you did it!” They’ll be waiting for you with a warm embrace.
You are never alone in your goals and commitments. Like Ryan and the wrist bands he gave to his brothers…we too have someone who will help us, “get strong and stay strong.” Jesus Christ has shown us the perfect example of commitment.
I think Ryan says it perfectly, when he stated this in his talk, ” I am so grateful for our Savior, Jesus Christ. I am grateful for his commitment to his Father and to us. I can’t imagine how hard it was for him . I can see him carrying his cross..stumbling and falling. Hearing the people shouting, “Quit.. give up.. your beaten.” Then I imagine him looking into the heavens, searching for his Father’s face. “Get up,” an echo sounded low, “get up and take your place, you were not meant for failure here, Get up and save the Human Race.”