Sunday, March 03, 2013

One more goodbye (and some thoughts)

 We took my parents to the MTC. First they went in and got their tags while we waited in the car. A few minutes later they were out the door, tags on, biggest smiles ever. It was a privilege to witness that moment. Then we drove them around the corner where a bunch of young missionaries and a few older folks were waiting to help them take their luggage. I tried my best not to cry but that was impossible, even for my dad, and he hardly ever cries. It was a mostly happy experience.
 Lindsey, Massimo, Sommer and I went to the airport to see them off again, just 10 days later. Mom and Dad were grinning the entire time, so excited to get to Portugal and serve. They had a wonderful few days in the MTC but were ready to be on their way, across the ocean, to a place they've never been, to meet people they are ready to love. They're going to be wonderful missionaries. I'll miss not having them "here"in the same country, but I'm so glad they're able to have this experience, and very happy for the lucky people they'll work with.
I've reflected a lot on my own missionary experience over the past few months as my parents have been preparing. The further I get from my mission the more I realize how blessed I was by the experience. 

I tried my best but I was not an amazing missionary yet still I was entrusted to teach the gospel and do my best to uplift those who needed it. One of my district leaders, kind of a punk, always said that the mission is the best kept secret in the church and he didn't mean in a necessarily good way. He griped that no one told him how hard it was going to be, everyone just said it was an amazing experience. 

Someone in church today paraphrased CS Lewis and said that "when we get to heaven, we'll find that as we look back on our lives we'll realize that life was heaven." I loved this. We go through trials and good times, sadness and happiness, learning and growing, often in uncomfortable ways, and it may not seem like heaven but these words helped me see that looking back, I'll be able to say it was. I want to be able to say it was. My mission wasn't easy for me, it shoved me out of my comfort zone and I know I could have done better in many ways, but it was one of the most wonderful experiences of my life and I feel so, so blessed that I was able to go, that I was trusted to go. It was a gift that I'm grateful for every day. I know my parents will feel the same way and I'm so happy for them. 


Shannon said...

I love the thought from CS Lewis. I've been reflecting on how much joy there is in the day-to-day lately. I wish that I had learned this sooner, and not spent so much time worrying when my kids were younger. Even in the difficult stages, there was joy because we were together.
Best wishes to your parents on their mission - what a wonderful example they are setting for their grandchildren!

Kim said...

How exciting for your parents to be going on a mission. I'm sure they will be great missionaries.

Ron and Shanon Sommer said...

I love this picture of you in front of the duomo in Madrid. It was a magical time.