Total Pageviews

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Thanks for the life saver

A few weeks ago I was thinking about how people have influenced me. I decided to write my former Young Men's leader an email. I'll share what happened in that conversation.

Brother Walker,

This is Ryan Johnson. I’m not sure if you still check this email, but I thought I’d try.

The other day I was reading Chad’s weekly email and at the very end of the email he said, “PS. I was reading an ensign from 1990 the other day and read something by Joe Walker, kinda cool huh?” So, today while I’ve been at work I decided to go find some things you’ve wrote and I wanted to tell you something I was thinking about as I read; thank you for the life saver.

I had a hard time when I was growing up with just trying to “fit in” (whatever that means). Being a teenager in a ward where you’re the only boy your age was tough, but reflecting back I’m grateful for leaders that magnified their callings, like yourself, Kenny Nay, and Ryan Mansfield. Having been an EFY counselor for a couple of summers, I know that a lot of times with teens those efforts to plant the seed of faith may be like drilling for a root canal with no pain killer, but I see the Lord does not let that pass Him by.

You held out the life saver of a testimony for me. I’ll always be grateful for the powerful lesson you taught on the Atonement using Matt Rowley as an object lesson asking him to do pushups. That opened my eyes to the reality of the Atonement and that even a skinny little 14 year old kid can become a better person than he was.

You showed me the life saver of genuine kindness and love. Every time I came to home teach or went to a young men’s activity, you were always there with a smile and a hug. You may not have known this at the time, but that genuine kindness began to shape me into the who I am and continue to strive to be.

Lastly, you showed me the life saver of the Spirit. I never knew I was feeling the spirit when I was younger, I always thought it was just a good feeling you get at church. I remember talking with you a few days after my mission and I remember you telling me, “Do all you can to keep the spirit with you the way you had on your mission, pay attention to what you do, you set your own rules now.”

So, once again, thank you for the life saver.

I hope all is well.


His response was this:


I can't even begin to find the words to tell you how much this extraordinarily kind and thoughtful e-mail meant to me. This is a treasure, especially since it comes from someone who I love and admire as much as I do you. You have always been a pleasure to know and to be around. You know, no matter how hard you work at being a good leader or teacher, it can be heard when the kids refuse to listen, or to give you a chance to help them. You always gave me a chance. You listened, with a good attitude. You accepted my efforts and tried the things I suggested. You accepted my efforts to reach out to you, and allowed me to be a friend to you. As you get callings and work with young people, you'll understand how important that is. You made it easy to serve and to give, because you accepted my feeble efforts. So many times you reach out to young people who won't reach back. You did, and that made it joyful for both of us.

You were a great kid, Ryan, and you have become an even greater man. I pray you have the opportunity to serve a Ryan Johnson or two in your life, and you'll know what a delight and joy you have always been to me.

God bless you! And thank you again for taking the time to write!


I was glad I took the time to write him. You never know what a random letter may do for someone's day, week or month.

I'm grateful to all the people that have been a life saver to me.

Thank you.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Walking the hard steps using MATH?

"Arbiter Sports this is Ryan, how can I help you?"

"Yeah, I can't log into your website, can you help?"

"No problem, let me look up your information."

"Okay, I show here that your password is your last name in all lower case letters."

"What does that mean?"

I was dumb founded. How do I explain what lower case letters meant? That's something you the womb or something!

"Umm, type your name in all little letters. First type "s"

"Where is s?"

"It's by the letter "a"

"Oh, okay."

After this typical day at work, I thought about the fact that we all have problems. Whether they are present problems or future problems. Large problems or small.

I've been taking a lot of math the last 2 months, and I've seen how the way you approach an equation (a problem) is similar to the way we should approach a problem problem:
  1. Write out the problem, think about the best way to approach the problem.
  2. Try out what you feel you should do.
  3. If the problem doesn't seem to be working out the way you thought, go back and re-work it.
  4. If you still can't find a solution, talk to someone that knows how to work out problems similar to the one you have.
  5. Be willing to listen to your "tutors" and thank them for their help.

At times you may come across a similar problem, and you think that you're doing everything right until you get toward the end of your problem and you realize its not working out.

Why? Because you started with a negative.

I guess math really can apply to you in real life...

Except... for finding the lower case s.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Your personal dragon

The Manti pageant? Cheesy and way expensive for a 32 oz cream soda, but the company was good and it set my mind into a "what is God trying to teach me?" mode.

I went to see the movie, "How to train your Dragon". Not in 3D just the classic way we use to watch know, way back in 2008?

As I was watching this movie I thought about a few things:

  1. We're all broken in some way or another.
  2. We all need someone else to fix us, we can't do it alone.
  3. We all need to be accepting of others who might have a few more "broken" things about them then we do...though, reality is, we're most likely just as broke.
These last few days of different activities have opened my mind to the fact that life is not only about learning how to serve others, it is about allowing others to "fix" you; through their kindness, through their honesty, and maybe sometimes through the criticism, they can fix you. They can help you fly, they can help you reach your potential. Of course, we need to do our part to strive our hardest to fly, but at times it takes another to help us reach for new sky.

The problem is, we all have our own personal dragon to train. The dragon of pride. Once we take away that hostility, we become more willing to fly. When we're more willing to fly, we're free.

I just hope I can keep learning how to "Train my Dragon".

Without the 3D glasses please.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Super man- boy

The tutor for math wasn't there, I came at the wrong time.

"Sorry." said Calli the secretary.
"It's fine, I'll be back." I said.

I decided to go to the Institute, I haven't been there for a while, and I've come to find a certain comfort there that I haven't had other places. That probably came from being Vice President of the place last year.

I was walking from my car down a dead end road toward my end goal, ya know doing the normal stuff, sneezing from dreaded hay-fever and kickin' a rock. I looked to my left and saw this little blond haired boy taking the trash to the can.

He was in a Super man costume.

Full-on, red undies and cape. Super man.

He looked to be maybe 6. As I watched this boy throw the trash out and then run back to his mom sitting on the lawn with his 3 siblings, I thought about how it was that Super man boy was so happy?

How could he be? It's 90 degrees outside and he's wearing long sleeves and undies on the outside of his pants!

As I look at what that boy did, and look at myself and things I've done/do, I think he's happy for 3 reasons:

  1. He loves his family. He's there for them, and he helps them out, even with the small things in life. He loves to be with them despite their differences, (his 2 sisters were wearing ballerina costumes!)
  2. He doesn't care about what others think about him. I hope he never has to experience something that will completely taint that view.
  3. He loves his hero and strives to be like him. (Don't do anything drastic like jump off a roof or anything.)
I thought about that all day long. As I was playing water volleyball tonight for our ward activity, and I was with some new people from my ward that I don't know very well, some people I do, and some I've never sat down and come to know, I realized how much more I need to be more like Super man boy. I hope and pray that I can be.

Only....without the red undies.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The child inside

"Mom?" the 4 year old says walking into the kitchen.
"Mom, how many dollars does a big kid bed cost?"
"Maybe 2 or 300 dollars."

The 4 year old stands thinking for a moment.

"Mom, can we get 300 dollars so I can get a big kid bed?"
"Why do you want a big kid bed?"
"Well, I want to get the 'How to train your dragon' blanket for my bed but my bed is too small so I need a big kid bed so the blanket will fit."

I love my nephew. He constantly wants to have fun. He's taught me a lot about how life should be; not too serious, smile at everything and love everyone for who they are.

I was thinking last night as I was going to sleep, how much I wish I was more like Jayden. Over the years from being picked on, teased, dumped, re-dumped, turned down, and embarrassed, my view of others and myself have become a little tainted.

My personal 4 year old is harder to bring out. It's interesting to me how easily kids believe and also how fragile they are to that fading away.

I told someone close to me recently how I admire those around me that place God above everything else. They don't see certain movies or listen to certain music because they understand that maybe, just maybe, God can run their life better than they can. And they want to stay as close to that guidance as they can.

Because God knows me, better than I know me.


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Taking it off

Someone had to take it off, and that someone was not going to be me!

I was not going to be like so many others who tore it off like one of those really ugly Christmas sweaters your grandma gave you 5 years ago and you wear just for the sake of wearing it...only one day a year.

This was not just an accessory on my clothing. It made me part of who I became, who I was, who I am.

I've realized that in order for one person to wear the name tag though, someone else must take it off.

Since being home 2 and a half years, I've wondered, "Has it been a good or bad thing that I'm no longer in the "weird stage"?" You know what I'm talking about, that point right after a mission when everyone says, "give him a month and he'll be back to "normal"." I've thought about that a lot recently; when I came home and people thought of me as strange, I was likely doing the following upon coming home:
  1. I read my scriptures daily
  2. I constantly helped people. Whether on the bus, train, or in a car, or even in a ward I don't like.
  3. I had personal prayer. Every day.
  4. I repented of my short comings. Every day.
  5. I focused on things of God, rather than things of Me. I tried my best to follow the Spirit's guidance.
So why did I let - or do I let, those "weird" things fade?

After all, I didn't take that off with my name tag...right?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

I love to hate you

I've noticed something recently. People love to be loved and hate to be hated, but they love to hate when they have a reason.

Or justification...

Example, a few weeks ago I was tired. (Ryan? Tired? No!) and I was hanging out with a few friends and one of my friends said a few comments to me and I reacted with a remark that probably wasn't the best. She reacted defensively, and I blew it off and went on with my life. Then, recently the other friend I was with told me that the other friend really doesn't like fact...hate's me. Not only that but I find out there is another person in my ward that feels the same way. Because of something I said to him. The grudges are held, the love is lost, the feelings are hurt.

Now I almost walk on egg shells around them. My friend says,"Just be nice to them, you don't have to be their friend." I have an issue with that. I value being a friend and being the best I can be toward and for other people. So when I find that someone "hates" me, my sincerity for that person fades away. I feel fake. I don't like that.

I guess that's why forgiveness and the sacrament are so important for our daily lives and weeks. We can be forgiven for things we've done but it is up to the person whether they continue to see the dirt on your hands or not.

It's a love I try not to hate.