The Miracle of My Roommate

Okay so first off I must apologize to all of you faithful followers who I've left hanging for two--not just one--but two Sundays. But you're not the only ones. I'm a member of this creative-writing website and was flat in the middle of a story some people were also following when I up and left for EFY for a week. I forgot to tell them. It's so fast paced that I'm slightly procrastinating going back on there for fear of seventy notifications wondering if I died.

But, as I was saying, EFY. Especially For Youth. THE BEST PLACE EVER!!! Joseph City aside of course :) I really could go on and on and on about it. About how I was bound and determined to not have a COW (crush of the week) and then hormones go the best of me. About how my group pulled a tribal attack and scooped a girl (the 'Indian Princess') up right out of a game of missionary tag, slung her over one of the guy's shoulders, and then kidnapped her. I could go on about the brownies, the life-chaning, prayer-answering talks, sharing one bathroom between four girls, and how much mascara I had to reapply after every devotional, but I'm afraid your finger might be sore from scrolling by the end of it.

So, for the purpose of this blog, I decided to share a miracle. The miracle of my roommate.

Technically, I came with my two bestest friends I've had since we were about four. But we determined that they would room together and I volunteered for the adventure of meeting someone new. And boy, what an adventure it was. I believe the first question I was asked by one of the girls was, "So, do you have a love life?"
My eyebrow rose and I slowly shook my head, "Uh, no. I've never had one." It was a fact I was pretty proud of at my age, but I couldn't help but chuckle; I'd never had attention turned away from me so quickly.

As for my actual roommate, I no sooner learned her name than I fell into a slight phase of culture shock. I was definatly a ways from home. Loudspoken and straightforward, I got a spunky earful of a lifestyle that went against everthing I knew and a whole new page in my mental book of vocabulary. My eyes just kept getting wider and wider and my stomach got tighter and tighter. At one point during the conversation I finally just got up and 'went to the bathroom.'

I leaned up against the door and let out a sigh. I wasn't about to back down.  I'd already determined before now that I was going to take the challenge of an unfamiliar roommate and make the most of it. No, I just needed to step back and gather my bearings. So I uttered a prayer. Though it may sound silly to some, I could tell I'd need help with this one.  I knew that Heavenly Father knew how naive I could be. I lived in a virtual bubble when it came to the things she was talking about. But He also knew my strengths. He knew where I could help. As small as my hands might be in comparison to His, He knew just what they could lift.

So it took a little bit of prayers and repenting on my part, but, more and more, I learned to love this girl. She was a daughter of God, just as I was. He loved her more than I could even comprehend and I felt that she had been sent to EFY for a reason. But what really kicked me into gear was when my counselor took me aside one night.

"Hey, she's making some of the other girls uncomfortable. If you feel the same way, you don't have to room with her. I don't want this to ruin your experience here."
I nodded, thinking it so amazingly typical of youth leaders to be so aware.
"I don't think there could be a better roommate for her, but if you need to move just tell me."
I ducked my head, wondering what prompted that compliment. I barely knew my counselor at this point. But I also felt at that moment that this was my chance. It was my chance to change someone's life--if I just stayed with it and listened.
She also revealed some scary possibilities that I would need to report if I heard my roommate talking about them, deepening the prompting. Not only could I change someone's life, I needed to.

All day I looked for opportunities. To compliment, to be friendly. I kept up my habits of prayer and scripture study because I knew it was how those I admired found answers to things like this.

It wasn't until that same counselor was giving a devotional on a topic that hardly related, that it came: "Try a roommate prayer or something."
At first I was a little reluctant. I could just see the look on her face now, "A roommate what?"
But it came again. So, after the devotional, I sauntered self-conciously into our room after brushing my teeth and put on the most casual tone I could manage, "Hey, um, I was thinking that maybe we could, uh, have a roommate prayer or...something."
"A roommate what?"
I forced a smile, "You know, a prayer with just us." I wondered if she'd agree. Afterall, we'd had a plethera of opening and closing prayers, group prayers, blessings on the food, personal prayers. How many prayers did we need?
But, after a moment, she nodded, "Alright."
"Great!" I beamed, "I...I guess I'll say it then."
We got interuppted halfway through with someone opening the door and I think I repeated myself from being nervous, so I doubted it was effective. But if there's one thing I learned when it came to promptings from the Holy Ghost, it's never to doubt.

I'm sure you can call picture my expression when, the next night, I was mentally running through the day and hurriedly throwing on my pajamas, and I heard a gentle:
"Hey, aren't we going to say roommate prayer?"
I froze. Just froze. I had completely forgotten! Then a grin grew on my face and I whirled around, "Of course! Do you want me--"
"I'll say it."
I clamped my mouth shut and went to my knees. I'll never forget that prayer that answered my prayer. It was one full of thanksgiving. For our counselors, for the opporutunity to be at EFY and learn of Him, and--the real tear dripper for me--for her 'amazing roommate'.
I really didn't need that. It wasn't me who had changed her heart. I had barely had the chance to talk to her that day.  And only the Lord had the power to transform something so deep, so fragile. But it was just a confirmation to me of what I had felt earlier.

The rest was really just between her and her Savior. I looked over once during a devotional and found her notebook page covered with uplifting messages and gospel principles. Besides overcoming my sleepiness once to follow the urge to reminder her to say her nightly prayers and telling her I loved her, I really hadn't done anything.

By the end of the week, she was a new person with a new outlook on life. She was vibrant, beautiful, and I think more of the person Heavenly Father meant for her to be. I could see so much potential in her--potential I'm sure He'd seen all along. When we finally had to leave, we both just threw ourselves into each other's arms and bawled. I realized that she wasn't the only one in need for a learning. Through her, I was shown more of the extent of the Savior's atonement and love. Of His hope and love for all of us, including me. Things I don't think I would've learned quite as well without her. What our counselor missed is that she was the perfect roommate for me.

 As I watched her car drive off, I realized I had seen another miracle. I was just glad I could be a small part of bringing it forth.

And Sasha, if you are reading this, Thank you sooo much girla! I love you so much!!


Gary Norris said...

A thankful father for a roommate in tune with the promptings of the Holy Ghost.
Thank you so much for your kindness, nonjudgmental heart, love and bravery. As I drove Sasha home from EFY to Idaho I got to hear many, many wonderful stories and experiences shared with me about her week at EFY... the first thing she told me was how awesome and amazing her roommate was and how she suggested that "Roommate Prayers" be said together. This was a touching testimony builder for Sasha... THANK YOU.

May you always be in tune with the Spirit of the Holy Ghost and willing to Let Your Light So Shine by Living The Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Sasha's Dad

C Brooks (678) 848-5254 said...

That was a very touching story. Often we try to make our life easier by staying with what is comfortable instead of stretching ourselves and thereby making our own selves better and more like Christ. I loved looking at this situation through your eyes. You are a very great writer, and I hope to read a book written by you and inspired by God.

Dolly said...

Thank you so much guys. And thanks Mr.Norris for sending her. Sasha is so amazing! I'm soooo glad I was lucky enough to be her roommate! I'm so glad the Savior knows what all of us needs.

Dallin B. said...

You never cease to amaze me Annelie! This story was a perfect example of how charitable you are towards every person you come in contact with. Thank you for sharing this story and for just being who you are. You are awesome!