Thursday, April 27, 2017

Week 75 - Reunions, Meetings, and the Temple (from April 24)

Hello there!

What's up with you guys! Thanks again for everything you've done for me. I'm only who I am because of you! Hope you had good weeks.
It says "Glory to you, Alex"

This week was one of the better ones I think I've lived to present! And I'm having a really hard time figuring out what sort of context I need to describe so that it makes sense as to why. So many little elements came together perfectly and I just feel satisfied and happy. Like my soul ordered a 2 for 20 from Chilis. Like a child being called up to write something on the board and he or she gets it right. Like putting on warm socks fresh from a dryer. Take the intersection of those three feelings and that's sort of what I've got going on over right now. So I guess I'll try and  explain why:

1) This whole transition to Paris and to taking care of a larger group of missionaries has been a little stressful in the normal growing-pain way... not an unhealthy amount but uncomfortable. This is the biggest city I will probably ever live in and is more responsibility than any future employer would ever be foolish enough to trust me with. Things just really seemed chaotic and I wasn't too sure what or how I could do in my new position. Paris-wonder was sort of replaced with more of a Paris-shock that didn't seem to be going away. So I was doing well but was clearly and probably visibly perturbed.

2) I could never find the words to explain how big of a fan I am of other missionaries. These guys leave their families and friends for two years for some of the coolest, most pure, and most important altruism I've ever seen. I've seen people that threw away their lives to go, those that paused studies, those that gave up careers, those that left despite having never left their home state before. Missionaries are just such inspiring and impressive examples to me. Someone throws together a band made from mostly 18 year olds and none of us know the music at the start... and now we have to learn the music here in a different language too... and half of us barely like each other and by the end some marvelous, supportive, loving, hilarious, brilliant, talented, forever changed group comes out. It's like School of Rock but swap Jack Black with Jesus Christ and music with service! Sœur-iously (this is a really good pun) I love missionaries so much. Thank you anyone who does and has ever done and who ever will do that.
My 3 generation picture.  My "father" (trainer), me, and my "son" (bleu)

2.5) And there is no group of missionaries who are more beloved and essentially family to me  than those who I met a year and a half ago. Half of us had half convictions of what we were about to do, half of us were scared out of our minds, half of us probably cried for like weeks, and every one of them are brilliant and talented and unique individuals. And some of them are people who I would be devastated if I didn't meet them again. And all but three of them will be going home here in a few weeks. And some of these people have changed my life and influenced me enormously. Some of these people supported and cared about me when I really needed it. Some of these people I saw this last Thursday! These 9 missionaries are some of the closest family I feel that I have and my only regret is that I don't/can't tell them that more often.

3) The most beautiful building I've ever been inside was recently just built in Paris not too far from Versailles. It's a temple. Which serves a similar function to a church but times infinity. That's almost a pun! I think it is a sacred and well kept and beautiful place of peace and quiet. Until it's dedicated anyone can go visit and tour and that was what we were all able to do: Huge missionary reunion as we all went and visited the temple.
Paris South Zone

Zone members, some of MTC group, and other missionaries outside the temple.
 My roomies Elders Daines and Bishop are sitting just to my right.

4) I've been in wayyyyyy tooooooo many meetings lately and I don't ever want to be a business man!

5) Circles are just such satisfying shapes and I feel like everything sort of connected this week. Things just came full circle. I sound like my high school ceramics teacher saying things like that; Shoutout to that relic from the 60's who refused to change! I took 3 classes with her!

And those ideas all add up to make a really great week. Like one of the best weeks of my life. I got to see people I didn't know if I'd ever see again. I saw 3 companions I've served with. I saw one of my favorite people ever and was able to live an incredibly touching and beautiful moment with her sitting outside the temple grounds during a lunch break; I don't know if I've ever cared less about the food I was supposed to be eating. It just felt good. Everything big worked out and came together and any weight I felt on my shoulders seemed to disappear as I walked through this beautiful garden and blessed temple.

Little moments like the few hours I spent in the temple, the hours I spend at church every Sunday, the minutes I spent not eating a sandwich and instead talking to my friend, the 43 minutes we spent talking to Caroline about hard times, the warm smile of an old lady who didn't have to many friends are what I have learned to live for! During these moments I think humanity bares its true colors. The goodness, smiles, and laughter peek through the cracks of some hardened mud-shell this cold and dirty world seems to try so hard to cover us with. There are not better moments that I have ever lived. Winning a sports game, getting a good ACT score, the best thing I've ever eaten, hot tubs, breaking a world record (Note that I haven't done this I'm just assuming-- though there's no doubt in my mind), skydiving, vacations in the Caribbean, Disneyland, fabulous riches!!!, even the emotional rollercoaster when a girl says yes to a painfully nervous young man asking her on a date for the first time... the best things the world has to offer... they have nothing on what these instants of heaven, infinity, love have to offer. I say with honesty I'd give all those things up at once for this week and the little beautiful moments that added up to make it.

I didn't think I'd have that much to say and those last two paragraphs sort of of just fell out into the email! Huh! I leave you until next time friends and family! Keep being yourselves and i think all of you would benefit from some ice-cream this week. You've earned. I really am sure.


Elder Alex Hacker

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