Andrea and I spent most of the afternoon together. She is giving a talk in church tomorrow and wanted me to help her with it. We were at my place mostly sitting on the living room floor just bouncing ideas off of each other.
I get really bored in church, and will often complain about the speakers and talks and lessons being given. The first time I did this Andrea quoted Brigham Young who said something to the effect, "If you ever propose to criticize someones talk or lesson you should go up and take their spot." To which I responded that is something I would gladly do, and that I would definitely not be boring.
Andrea has decided to put this to the test by getting my input. Her talk was about obedience. She had a barrage of scriptures and quotes from General Authorities all ready to go. I looked over her outline, and lovingly rolled my eyes and told her that this would easily put everyone to sleep. I told her that she needed to tell stories and apply them to the topic. Explaining that when a personal story was shared that people could often relate and were not only more prone to listen, but by listening would be more likely to feel the Spirit.
We talked about some times in her life that she was obedient. We stumbled across a great story about how she and her dad were trying to train their dog not to eat off the table when they weren't in the room. It was a funny story, and it went right along with obedience perfectly. I told her that she should tell that story. She started writing frantically, and I left the room to make us some peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. When I returned she was still scribbling away at this page.
I asked, "What are you writing now, I thought we were done." She replied, "I'm writing out the story." I sighed, "No, you definitely don't want to read the story, you just need to tell it. It's far more interesting told then read." She said, "but I don't want to forget anything." I said, "Tell it a few times then, to your dad, and your sister, but you gotta tell it not read it, trust me on this." She stared at me. I could tell she wasn't convinced so I continued, "I mean look at bearing your testimony, nobody writes out their testimony, they just say it, it's more genuine, it is easier to listen to." Half way through that sentence Andrea got a pretty embarrassed look on her face. I stuttered, "Uh, did you, uh, did you write out your testimony?" She pulled a page out from under the page she had been writing on and held it up. I smiled and started to laugh a little bit. Her head dropped and she said, "You're not very helpful, you're just making me frustrated. I'm not good at this. I get so nervous if I don't have it written out. I am afraid I'll freeze."
I realized that she had already put a lot of work into this and I was just mockingly tearing it to shreds. I tried to console her, but the damage had been done. I was telling her how instead of writing out the story maybe she could write major points to work towards as she told the story like a connect the dots. She listened while frustratingly crumpling up her written story and her testimony and throwing them across the room. She sat there for a sec looking at the ground, then she smiled sort of deviously and said, "Fine Jake I am going to try it your way." She stood up and grabbed me and kissed me and said, "Thank you for helping, Can I tell you the story a couple times?" I agreed, and she told me the dog training story.
After fine tuning things a bit and suggesting some parts where she could be funny and stuff she said, "Okay, I need to practice telling my testimony, can I tell you that a couple of times?" I said yes. I sat on the couch in our front room, and Andrea proceeded to bare her testimony to me. It was simple and direct. She laid out very clearly how she felt and why she felt that way. She was minutes into it, and I actually felt a very peaceful spirit. I watched as she lit up with the glow of something greater then herself. I got uncomfortable... I don't know why exactly, but I kept thinking, "This girls testimony blows mine out of the water." I started to think about my date with Harper, how I was so willing to kiss her even though I had decided I liked Andrea better. I started to think about how selfish I was.
Andrea continued and started tearing up as she expressed her love for Jesus Christ. I was listening but my mind was elsewhere. I was feeling guilty. I didn't even know exactly what I was feeling guilty about. The thought popped into my mind. This girl deserves someone better than me. I thought, sure being with her would no doubt make me a better person. I know that's good, but what about her, I wouldn't be making her a better person. She needs someone better than me, I will only drag her down.
After finishing her testimony, she wiped a tear away that made it down the left side of her face and skipped to the couch and plopped herself next to me. She smiled her big perfect smile and said, "Well." I smiled back, "That was beautiful, you bare one of the best testimonies I've ever heard. You don't need anymore practice." Her face lit up and she threw her arms around me. We held each other for a while and I couldn't get the thought, "She deserves a better man than me" out of my head.