Tuesday, September 14, 2010


I sit with my eyes closed, feeling the music as much as hearing it, listening closely to the stately, wonderful rhythm of the piano and the beautiful, familiar tune of the violin. I know this song well, but it seems new to me as I hear it tonight, perhaps because every other time I have heard it I have not been a student at BYU. Chills run up and down my arms as the key changes, and my heart soars with the violin. I remember the words spoken a few minutes earlier by President Madsen: “You belong here. This was no accident, you coming here; there is a purpose and a meaning to your being here right now.”

“Can I ask what in the world is going on here? Those guys are like 25!”

“I think they are closer to 30 actually... well you see, my friend is visiting, and I invited her to dinner, and she brought one of her friends, and this friend of hers brought these two guys--”

“Who are 30?”

“--yes, and they brought their friend too...”

I think I might write a children's book about this evening. I'll call it something catchy, maybe “If you invite an RM to dinner...”

I spent this Sabbath day sitting at the feet of the prophets, almost literally. Once again, I could not imagine being anywhere else in the world than right here, right now.

“Come on Jason! All you, bro!”

I take a deep breath, then start running. I must be crazy, I think to myself as I take a flying leap onto the tarp. Down, down, down I fly; the water is cascading up into my eyes, I can't see; I hear gasps of anticipation above me; suddenly I stop, abruptly and painfully, not at all the way I planned it. I am disoriented, dazed, confused. After a few moments I blink the water out of my eyes and regain my wits. Then I realize that I missed the patch of grass I was aiming for and instead landed, squelching and scraping, in the mud. I stand up slowly, gingerly—my entire front from my chest to my knees is covered in brown, sticky muck. I turn around and raise my arms in triumph.

They cheer.

      1. Weave a pack of bacon together into a mat.

      2. Spread sausage out over the bacon; season to taste

      3. Spread cooked bacon and onions on top of the sausage; season again; apply sauce

      4. Roll the whole thing together, using the bacon mat as a wrapping

      5. Seasonings, sauce. Throw in the oven long enough to cook all the meat.

      6. Enjoy.

(I am so making this!)

Right now, as I write this, I am sitting in the courtyard of the Joseph F. Smith Building (JSFB to those wise in the ways of BYU lingo). I like coming here to eat my lunch in between classes; there is a beautiful fountain, along with trees for shade, and it is a peaceful place to eat. The sky is pure and blue, with big puffy white clouds sprinkled here and there like misplaced castles. I sit here and think about the last few days' classes—about my chemistry teacher singing in a ridiculously deep voice to illustrate the way sound travels in different mediums; my Book of Mormon teacher quoting two of my favorite scriptures in rapid succession; my writing teacher laughing as she talks about her six year old son, who wants to be famous.

It hits me again, not for the first time and certainly not for the last. This is where I belong.


Cindy said...

And that makes me happy, to the point of tears.

Jason said...

Which part? The bacon? It is pretty awe-inspiring :D

cindy baldwin said...

That is such a good feeling! :) I am so glad that you are happy there. And your essays are lovely!

Jason said...

Thank you!

Collin Sanderson said...

I love the first paragraph! It makes me itch terribly to finally be there! :D

Jason said...

Collin, you will love it more than you can possibly imagine. It's amazing!