JonJon recently wrote about a healing experience he had connected to a place where he had lived when he was a student at BYU. It made me remember a similar experience I had a few years back, in the fall of 2004.
Göran and I were visiting my family in Springville, UT. I had been contacted by an old friend I'd known when I was an undergrad at BYU. He was working in the BYU archives and wanted to meet me and Göran. He offered to give us a tour of the archives and take us out to lunch. I agreed to meet him on campus with a little bit of apprehension, because the last time I had been at BYU had been eighteen years earlier, when I had been suicidal. I wasn't sure what kinds of feelings would come up.
The visit to BYU itself went fine. Göran and I had a great time meeting with my friend. And my friend clearly didn't seem to be phased by the fact that I was gay and in a committed relationship. He was warm and inviting and politely curious, and Göran and I had a great time on the tour. I also realized that I had many pleasant memories from my time at BYU, and this friend was helping me get in touch with them.
But as we were leaving campus, I got a bit lost. I was trying to get reoriented and figure out how to get back to the highway to return to Springville, and we ended up driving along the edge of campus that is closest to the Provo Temple. Then I saw to my right the apartment complex I had been living in when I had made the decision to kill myself. Park Plaza Apartments. I pulled the car into the parking lot. I was just kind of gasping for breath and starting to cry. And Göran was kind of stunned, and didn't know what was going on and was asking what was the matter. So after I had composed myself a bit, I explained to him some of what I had been going through when I was living there.
I thought it would be bad, but it ended up being really good. It was this really cool, healing moment. I realized I was in a completely different place now and I had learned and grown so much since then -- very similar to what JonJon has described. I ended up asking Göran to take a picture of me there, which he did.
At that point, I was still pretty angry at the Church... But it was the following year that I started going back to Church. So that healing moment was I guess preparing me to open my heart and grow even more in some pretty incredible ways!!