First Person:
Still Reaching

by Trista Crossley

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    “Hey cuz, you still shootin’ for that celestial kingdom you told me about?” my cousin asked.

    Her unexpected question took me off guard. I stammered for a moment, trying to figure out what she was talking about. Then I remembered. Last summer, during our visit to California, my cousin and I had been talking late at night, as was our habit, when the subject of the Church had come up. My cousin is a nonmember and knows very little about our church, so when she asked me to tell her about it, I gladly agreed. I told her what I could: the Joseph Smith story, our beliefs, my dreams, and my fears—including my goal of reaching the celestial kingdom. I bore my testimony to her, and told her I knew the gospel was true. I told her how I wanted to live forever with at chosen mate, and to have my family with me. She listened carefully and asked me a lot of questions which I answered as best I could. We went to sleep that night, her wondering and me feeling pretty pleased with myself.

    Now seven months later, I was amazed that she remembered what I had told her.

    “Well?” She was looking at me expectantly, waiting for an answer.

    I swallowed hard and stared out my window at the falling snow, watching each individual snowflake merge with millions of others. If only life were that simple.

    “Am I still reaching for it?” I asked myself. I thought back over the last few months and knew I hadn’t been trying very hard. I had just broken up with my boyfriend, my grades weren’t as high as they should have been, my best friend wasn’t my best friend anymore, family relationships were strained, and most important of all, I was gradually pulling away from the Church. As I sat there, I took a new look at my life and realized how empty it had been. I turned and looked at my cousin and said quietly but firmly, with my eyes full of tears, “Yes, I am.”

    Oh how thankful I am to have a Father in Heaven who loves me enough to remind me of my goals. With his help I can reach the celestial kingdom. And when I doubt myself, I just remember those three words, “Yes, I am,” and I know that my Father in Heaven is with me.