Since May, I have worked at Chipotle Mexican Grill. For those unfamiliar with the restaurant, customers walk down a line of prepared vegetables, meats, and salsas, and choose what ingredients are put in their meal. About a month ago, our walk-in refrigerator, where we store all of the food made on-site, started to fail. In turn, our store borrowed a large, refrigerated truck to keep the food from spoiling.
To prepare the food, the ingredients had to be taken out of the truck in the back lot, safely transported through the back of the store, and could finally be cut, diced, or marinated. When the prep work was complete, the food had to then be taken back to the truck to chill until it was needed. Thousands and thousands of pounds of salsa, meat, and vegetables had to be transported between the truck and the store. Extra coordination was required to keep the ordering line stocked. To say the least, it was very inconvenient.
We were working hard and doing our best to keep everything running smoothly, but with the tensions and stress with the broken walk-in, sometimes we made mistakes. At times, our coordination would fail and we would temporarily run out of salsa on the line.
What were the root causes for this failure? Was everyone aware of what was needed? Was everyone working together? Were some people slacking off in the back?
Sometimes, my life has felt like the salsa on the line when I have nearly run out of faith. [The other times were when I’ve been a little too spicy with my co-workers.]
In his talk, The Cost and Blessings of Discipleship, Elder Holland recounts the unfortunate events that occurred to a sister missionary. “My companion and I saw a man sitting on a bench in the town square eating his lunch. As we drew near, he looked up and saw our missionary name tags. With a terrible look in his eye, he jumped up and raised his hand to hit me. I ducked just in time, only to have him spit his food all over me and start swearing the most horrible things at us. We walked away saying nothing. I tried to wipe the food off of my face, only to feel a clump of mashed potato hit me in the back of the head. Sometimes it is hard being a missionary because right then I wanted to go back, grab that little man, and say, ‘EXCUSE ME!’ But I didn’t.”
Elder Holland adds, “You may wonder if it is worth it to take a courageous moral stand… or to go on a mission only to have your most cherished beliefs reviled or to strive against much in society that sometimes ridicules a life of religious devotion.” It is hard to be a disciple in this day and age, but oh is it worth it to “try a little harder to be a little better” (President Hinckley).
I have no idea what my life has in store for me and I definitely do not know what God has planned for me. My life has taken so many twists that I never would have imagined. The one thing I know for sure is that a foundation in Christ is the best way to go.
Earlier this year, I came home early from my mission in Boston, Massachusetts. Since then, I have had moments where I have just felt like a complete failure. New England, no matter how inclement the weather, holds a special place in my heart. Since then, I have met with President Jones and Bishop Rowley numerous times. I am thankful for their words of advice, counsel, and support.
Some tender mercies have come from this experience, though. I have been able to attend many of my friends’ mission farewells, celebrate the wedding of an aunt, and visit my grandmother several times before she passed away this summer. I have also been able to bond closer with my younger siblings and have enjoyed a trip to Utah to visit with my sisters, whom I hadn’t seen since they left on their missions.
Applications for the Winter 2016 semester at BYU were due October 1st. In order to apply, I needed to be interviewed by my Stake President. For weeks, I struggled to set up an appointment to meet with President Jones. The week of the deadline, President Jones was out of town until Friday and on Saturday, when he would be with General Authorities all day. That Sunday, he and his counselors were released after a decade of service. However, the Thursday right before the deadline, President Jones called and told me that since we had been meeting so frequently, he felt that an interview was unnecessary and submitted my application. I knew that whatever decision was made, I had done my part and it was in God’s hands.
In a game my younger brother loves to play, the main character is left in charge of a village when the mayor mysteriously disappears. In the game there is a fortune teller who randomly visits the village. Visiting her is pretty straightforward, you pay a small fee and she gives you a fortune. When I tried it, she told me: “Remember, bad times are just times that are bad.” It wasn’t a fortune, per se, but some interesting advice. [Who knew that such a silly game could have a little wisdom hidden within?]
At work, the walk-in seemed like a nightmare, but it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Our team has worked better together than before the incident occurred. Although we are not perfect, we have learned to trust each other better, to work more in unison, and to not let our salsa run out.
When the walk-in died, it felt like a bad time. Coming home from my mission felt like a bad time. Losing a grandparent felt like a bad time. Upcoming university deadlines felt like a bad time. In all of these “bad times”, there was something I needed to learn… I was being tested. I could have given up, or pushed on. “Sometimes the Lord brings us low before he can lift us higher” (Joseph Smith).
“In courageously pursuing such a course, you will forge unshakeable faith, you will find safety against ill winds that blow, even shafts in the whirlwind, and you will feel the rock-like strength of our Redeemer, upon whom if you build your unflagging discipleship, you cannot fall” (Elder Holland).
With faith in Christ and His atonement, we can be made whole. In one of my Grandma Hunt’s last talks, she affirmed that “Our family’s faith in Jesus Christ is not dependent on outcomes.”
I know that I am weak, but through Christ’s love, I am made strong.
The Cost and Blessings of Discipleship by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland
We Have a Work to Do by President Gordon B. Hinckley