I’m not saying that I didn’t cry. Those near me in my row five seat at the SLC Abravanel Hall concert might have noticed that I had a death grip on my sister-in-law starting with David Archuleta’s tears when he mentioned his sisters just before he broke my heart singing Silent Night. They might remember me stumbling blindly over the row behind me to fall into the arms of a friend whose face was also streaked with tears. They might have heard actual sobs. Pretty sure they did.
I’m not saying that I’m not sad to see him go. I’m not saying I won’t miss him. I’m not saying that I have never had a single moment’s fear of what the future will hold. I’m not even saying I’ve always thought this mission thing was a great idea, though I am LDS too and the cousin, sister, sister-in-law and wife of returned missionaries, as well as the mother of a returned missionary, a current missionary and a future missionary.
I thought David’s mission was his music. I never expected him to serve full-time. I guess you could say that I didn’t ever want him to go.
I’ve been a card-carrying member of this fanbase from the very beginning, and though I love and enjoy that gorgeous voice as much as anyone here, what I love and support most of all is that boy. What I want is for that boy to be happy. I know this isn’t unique to me, by any means. I just know it is at the core of my reasons for following David as closely as I do.
So when he stood on the stage and wept in such a dignified way while he cracked open his heart for us to peek inside – every piece of me supported what he was saying, and began to understand why he was saying it. He was saying that he was ready to grow in a new way, a way that will likely be difficult and require a lot of him, and he was asking, without asking, if we would let him go with our blessing.
He was asking to be allowed to wall off a period of time in his life for sacred purposes. And saying he was going to do it even if we didn’t want him to, even if it will require a very great deal from him.
In the LDS church, keeping the Sabbath day holy is a central practice. On Sundays, we refrain from work, focus on our religious duties and our families and take time to give our Heavenly Father our full attention, just one day a week.
It isn’t really a day of rest in the sense of naps and leisure activities, but it is a day of rest from worrying about secular things. It is a day to focus on God’s work, and in so doing, we renew our strength for our own labors. In my life, the Sabbath day has come to color every other day. Every day I do some little thing to prepare for that day of focusing on my God. Every day I reap the rewards of having had that spiritual time in my week, every day I draw strength from the discipline I have cultivated over my lifetime – the discipline of looking away from my own life and toward the lives of others, toward being God’s hands just one day out of seven.
Though this view may be controversial, I believe David has big work to do during his time on this earth. He has already demonstrated a rare quality of spirituality as he serves others from a very generous heart. I can only think that he will do more and more of this during the rest of his life. He has so very much to give and has already given so much.
He needs to take time for himself, to prepare for the rest of his journey. I believe that his mission will serve as a sort of Sabbath in his life. He won’t be resting in terms of a luxury vacation at a resort, in fact he will be working as hard as he has ever worked thus far. But it will be God’s work he is doing. God’s children he will be serving. His concerns will not be about concert venues or royalty checks. His concerns will be about a person he knows is suffering, a family that is falling apart, someone who is lonely, someone who is lost. He will be actively seeking the Spirit every moment of every day on behalf of someone else.
And because our David is David – every action he takes, every prayer he says, every person he loves, will turn itself into musical gold in his heart.
In order for David to fully bloom into the person he was born to be, he needs this time. He deserves this time. The fact that he can take it, in the face of some pretty stiff opposition, is a testament to his strength of character. I believe that he knows what is best for David. And what is best for David, is best for all of us. What touches and teaches David, will ultimately touch and teach us all.
I will be here when he gets back. I suspect you will be, too.
Where else would we go?
— smanda (@mandaberry007)