Friday, May 18, 2012
So...Do You Think We're Crazy?
If you have been following the past week, you will know that FOML3 has embarked on his mission, and entered the MTC Wednesday. I stayed home and worked, while my EC and FOML1 left town to go drop him off. Long gone are the days when the missionary brought the whole family into the MTC to sing and say goodbye. Now there is a system that operates with the ruthless efficiency of disembarking Space Mountain, and takes about as long.
On behalf of my wife, I would suggest that they create a post-drop-off parking area", similar to the cellphone lots at the airport. You could call them "Weeping Zones." If other parents leave the MTC in the condition that my EC does, it would be in the best interest of public safety.
Anyway, thanks to technology and free long-distance, I was able to listen and participate in the goodbye process as our Elder left. I have to admit, it was hard. Much harder than we had planned.
When our first son left, we were giddy, and excited, but it was still surprisingly tough. My EC has since proclaimed that the "best kept secret in the Church is how difficult it is to send a son or daughter into the mission field". But since we had already dealt with it, we knew that the second time would be much easier. Right? Right?
Wrong. The second time was worse than the first time. It may not be for all parents, but it was for us. There are a few reasons that could contribute to the surprising degree of difficulty:
First, less than a year ago, FOML2 was rushed home from his mission a few months early with a life-threatening brain injury that he incurred in the field. (If you are a long-time reader, you might remember last summer when I was doing hospital vigil...yeah, that.) He has experienced many miracles, and is almost 100%, but we are still a little gun shy. (Should I ever go public, I'll fill you in on this amazing story.)
Second, FOML3 is much more of a home-body. We are used to having him around. He will leave a gigantic hole in our home. Our utility bill will be much smaller, and the house quieter, but his absence will be greatly felt.
Last, this son was the "runt" of the litter. He had surgery as a baby, hospitalizations, and a lot of health problems over the years. I think we are just a little bit more protective of this one.
Even so, away he went, full of faith and desire, and with our faith and blessing. We were sad to see him go, but would have been sadder if he had chosen not to.
Yesterday I was siting at my desk, and a wonderful lady who has worked for me for 15+ years, saw that I was a little "misty". She asked if I was OK, and I told her that I was fine. She is not a member of the church, but lives a very religious and Christ-like life - she has watched most of the FOMLs grow up. I felt like talking, so I invited her to pull up a chair.
I asked her a simple question: "So, do you think we're crazy?"
"No", she replied, 'Why would I think you're crazy?"
"You have watched us send two of our sons off on missions - and you know what happened last time - what do you think about it?"
"I think it's fine...if that's what they want to do." Implied in this statement was a thought she had expressed before - that kids go because they are pressured to go, rather than out of a sincere desire. "I'm sure it is good for them to get away and grow."
"I couldn't agree more,"I responded. "If he didn't really want to be there, I sure wouldn't have wanted him to go."
And then I must have gotten a "preachy face" or something, because before I could say anything else, she stood up, and was ready to go. Before she walked away she did say, "You know, most nineteen year-old boys are trying to figure out how to put together enough money to get drunk all weekend." Smart lady. She gave me a smile, and walked out.
Opportunity missed? Maybe. Maybe not.
At this point of the post I had intended to indulge in a sermon highlighting the "right" reasons to serve a mission vs. the "wrong" reasons.
Instead, I think I'll just put it out there that we are thrilled that FOML3 is serving, and we know that he is prepared, and doing it for the right reasons. (And yes, there are right and wrong reasons.)
So - are we crazy? Maybe - but not about this!