Peace be unto you my friends,
I hope everyone is doing well and that all of your weeks have rolled by peacefully. It has been a long time since I've seen a lot of you! Every day the time since I've seen you ticks up by one and the days left until I run into you again ticks down. Provided I see you before one of us dies!
In practice this week was super busy. We had missionary exchanges with two different companionships and spent another day out of the sector. On Monday we had interviews with the mission president. And this literal summary of the week is just painful to write so I'm just going to back to the normal disconnected ideas.
Amongst the members here there is a literal electricity! They cannot stop talking about the temple and how much it means to them and how pretty it is. I can't think of another community so enthralled by just about anything... and it makes perfect sense given the eternal consequences and significance this building carries for them and me as well. This is what glues families together for infinity. This is one of the most spiritually significant places on this planet. This thing took many years and complications to construct. I've always been impassioned by the passions of others but to see the enthusiasm and love these people have is something unrivaled. Peaceful sigh.
Let me paint a picture! Can you all envision the typically blue containers that aren't quite big enough for a child to comfortably fit inside of but are great for storage and moving? They contain maybe like 25 gallons or something? People stuff Christmas things in garages with them. My favorite childhood game was by far what we had affectionately entitled "Heroes of Might and Magic" after an old computer game of the same name we watched mummy play on occasion.
Equipment needed to play:
-One preferably blue tub full of characters. Most of these dudes were little fantastical figures like knights, pirates, giants, cowboys, dragons, a fat friar, etc... We threw in a healthy spattering of McDonalds Happy Meal toys. Got the occasional appearance of a Star Wars guy. A beautiful, beautiful mix!
-A few larger vehicles. An even amount of them reduces infighting amongst players. My personal favorite was this sweet yellowish submarine who stood out a bit from the medieval carriage, viking rowboat, robot whale, and siege tower.
-A 'home base'. We had a castle, a big pirate ship, a treehouse village thing, and two Wild-West towns.
-3/4 cups margarine.
-2 imaginative players who have a lot of free time.
So after all the lobbying/chore-exchanges/tearful begging needed to find a comrade, you pick a home base, you take turns picking the vehicles, and then the real draft begins! Me and my Dad or Sister or other victim would take turns picking who got what units to join their armies. The funniest thing is that I almost never ended up playing the actual game! We never got past the setup. I never got to see the pirates+Dragon Ball Z take over the knights+2 bionicles. The Happy Meal Toy-filled tree house never defended itself against the 2 very small purple dragons+triple mace guy(he was actually really normal except he had 3 maces)+elves. It was the possibility and draft and planning that enchanted me as a kid! The best part of the game was the long and tedious logistical part tacked on at the beginning. I learned to love the planning! Another magical childhood trait that I lost.
And all that description is really just to say that in a world with way too many desk jobs, way too many boring parts, way too many crowded metros, way too many meetings, way too much paperwork, and way too many phone calls (a lot of those strike personal chords because I've been doing a lot more things of that nature lately) we too can learn to love and be grateful for the parts of life typically thought boring and less exciting. Or at the least we can better learn to love and appreciate them in the greater capacity. How you handle and care about busy work, logistics, and all the other molasseses of life vastly changes how happy you are and how happy I've been lately. Instead of loving only the highs those medium parts like the action-figure draft before the actual game (not low parts, those are supposed to be hard and low I think) can become pretty darn fun, even the highlights.
The fidelity and blind loyalty of one of my pairs of shoes is starting to show. They are no longer what many might refer to as "waterproof" or "without holes in the soles." I take it as a thing of honor, showing if I accomplished nothing else on my mission, I walked a lot. This Saturday we (me, Elder Currie, and my holy shoes) were off to go explore Blois the land of castles to give an interview to someone! It was pretty rainy and pretty pretty. French chateaus sprinkling a rain-dampened countryside isn't the worst backdrop I've ever been around. It was super picturesque though. Seriously! So we meet this family, I give an interview to someone, and the best part is the cutest 3 year old I have ever met. She's only the slightest bit pudgy-- in the cute way though, not the Dudley Vernon way-- rocking two pigtails. She speaks better French than any missionary (my pride took a warranted hit there when I realized all the progress I've made was eclipsed by a three-year-old) with the most precise and adorable pronunciation! Sweet name to to top it off: Iesha. After knowing her for a whopping three seconds she had confidently grabbed my hand to sweep me away to go see her bedroom and favorite stuffed animal and than her brothers room. She tried to brush all of our hair multiple times. Every time I think I meet the cutest child living on the planet someone new comes along. I could not stop smiling and laughing in my heart from the moment I met that little angel.
As those of you with mothers might be aware, this week marks Mother's Day! One of the most holy of all holidays! I think I will cheat and use another whimsical list to express my gratitude for my mother and the motherhood:
-Mom once grabbed a goldfish with her hand because we had no net and we had to clean the fish tank.
-Mom, despite the opposition of the cold and the laziness of everyone else, fearlessly battled to put of Christmas decoration and spirit each year.
-Under the influence of a medication that made her a little loopy Mom once, in what really was the most kind and thoughtful act, made a ham and cheese and jelly sandwich with a smiley face cut into it at like 3 in the morning for me to eat for breakfast.
-Mom drove me to school from birth (she worked there and no one was at the house) through 5th grade every morning. And sometimes we were on time!
-Mom pretended to, and genuinely did, like some of the worst gifts ever. And I recognize that most kids give pretty low quality presents to their Mom at some point but there where some real stinkers in there. Notably a red solo cup (Amen Jonny Cash) filled with a bar of soap my mom already owned chopped up into shavings, a fork regularly used by the family with clay wrapped around the handle-- it looks cool but it's no longer functional, and a banana slicer.
-Mom refused to believe my arm was broken at first but made up for it by paying the extra fee for the glow-in-the-dark cast.
-Mom does more laundry and dishes than anyone ever should.
-Mom would pray every night for her kids because she loved them.
-Mom picked up the habit of bringing s'mores downstairs to her surly teenage son during years where he was pretty grumpy.
-Mom became one of my best friends.
-My mother was an infinite support over the course of my entire life despite a lack of gratitude on my part. She never gave up on me. She was always there waiting with godly patience for me to figure things out and make good choices. She gave me the best possible education of every sort she could... and she did the exact same thing if not better for all of my brothers and sisters. My mother was the one who would say yes to our outlandish requests. My mother did everything I could ever ask for from a Mother. She is pretty darn cool and probably a little bit more cool than the rest of your mothers.
Love your Mom this week! That's by far the most important invitation I could offer any of you.
-Elder The son of Leah Hacker