A friend I admire sent me a link to an interesting article in the Deseret News about some famous LDS athletes who have had to grapple with the decision of whether or not to serve a mission.
The writer, former NBA star Travis Hansen, served his mission in Chile, and wrote the story to share his view on how those two years can provide “a master’s degree in experiences.” The examples of qualities he feels missionaries can develop during that time range from leadership, diplomacy, humility, gratitude and communication to learning to handle criticism and conquering fear.
I know what you’re thinking. “How could David possibly become more humble, grateful or diplomatic?”
But the fact is, David’s been pretty open in interviews about wanting to gain maturity and assertiveness, along with the confidence to be “daring” (his word) with his music. And he told us in his “A Thought” vlog that he couldn’t wait to bring back the person he’ll become in 2014. So, as well as fulfilling his spiritual needs, David clearly hopes to “take some time now … it’s time for me to find out who I am.”
And I have no doubt he’ll do that… and more… ’cause that’s what David does … more. He always seems to work even harder, longer, and with more commitment than you imagined he could.
He also continues to defy our expectations of him. Mine, anyway. And I’d foolishly thought I didn’t have those. The night of his Announcement taught me different. Turns out, I’d been seeing what I’d wanted to see… a David soaring from a successful Christmas tour ready to write new music, find his own sound and take the recording industry by storm… um, nope.
Without realizing it, I’d mapped out my ideal version of his future. I think I’ve learned a painful lesson though. At least I hope so.
My motto now? Let it be. Let him be. And I feel more peaceful about things by not dwelling on the particulars of what he may be doing* or even what he’ll do when he gets back. This is his time, his life, and after much angst (mostly separation anxiety I guess), I’ve come to realize I can only say, “Via con Dios, David.” Go with God. Wherever He may lead you.
Yes, I admit I pray for him to stay safe and to be happy but I trust he’s in good Hands. I have no doubt he’ll make the absolute most from this experience and that he’ll remain focused on what he can give, not what he can get — because that’s what David’s always done — whether it’s on Idol, on tour, or in his neighbourhood. But I can’t focus on his present beyond that, only my own. And I can’t focus on the future either.
I sincerely hope that David emerges from these two years an even stronger, more fortified, grounded, rebooted version of his already amazing self, ready to make new music. But the truth is, anything could happen in two years, to any of us. And as much as David was sincere when he held up that “I’ll Be Back #DA2014″ sign — even he doesn’t know where his head and heart will be in 2014.
Of course I want him to pick up where he left off and start writing, recording and performing again but I don’t want to weigh him down — or myself, for that matter — with expectations for what will happen in 2014. Call it denial or self-preservation but it feels right to enjoy the here and now, and leave the rest up to someone else.
So while I believe David’s doing exactly what he needs to be doing and is right where he’s meant to be — and that he’s certainly earning that master’s degree in experiences … heck, a PhD, knowing David — I can only focus on the riches he’s left us with today (and come Aug. 7th ).
And what riches they are … I find myself bursting with gratitude for the four years of beautiful music — and bunny suits — he’s given us so far and all that he worked so hard to finish for us before he left.
I’ll never stop supporting him, that I do know. His voice is pure love, I know that too.
So how about you guys? Where are you at on this crazy elevator ride we’re on?
*But if ninja vids surface from his performance this weekend, all bets are off.