Greetings from Connecticut, 2003
November 25 marks ten years of being home from my mission. I don't really know what to think of that, except, Dang! How did that happen? Time moves quite fast sometimes. When I look back at life, it's been a rollercoaster- many ups and downs.
I suppose that's fitting for someone who has worked at an amusement park.
I remember the day, I remember leaving the mission home without Sister Coleman, who was staying and touring CT with her mother. I remember feeling awful that I had no companion and was breaking a rule, but there was nothing to be done about it. I remember the elder who had a carry on that easily weighed 50 pounds, he didn't want to pay for a heavy suitcase. I remember a layover in Chicago, where a year and a half earlier I had come through as a scared brand new missionary, and how we ran into a group of brand new missionaries on their way to Connecticut. I remember trying to deplane and how it felt like an eternity until I could get off that plane to run and see my family. Didn't everyone know how anxious I was to see them??
I remember how great and surreal it was to be home and see my family. How devastating it is to be released as a missionary, and to become 'mortal'. How weird it was to watch tv or be by myself. How wonderful that Thanksgiving was, two days after arriving home. How hard it was to figure out what to do with myself and find a job. You've had a great adventure and learned so much, now what are you supposed to do with it?
Where do I find myself ten years after arriving home? Someplace I never thought I'd be. I'm nearly halfway done with my second year of teaching. Far away from my family, living in Phoenix of all places. That's right, this mossy Washingtonian is living in the desert. Working in a school that for the last year and a half has been very difficult and brought me to my breaking point at times. I have a blessed life though- I have good relationships with my family and many close people in my life. I have a sweet little apartment that spoils me with it's luxuries. I have a Cheesecake Factory close by! I have sorted through a lot of my things. I have opportunities for creativity as a remake or arrange things in my place. I have a studio area! I have a wonderful ward that has lifted me up and saved me more than they know. I have a temple fairly close and soon I'll have one very close. I have learned a lot about myself and my strengths and weaknesses, having had to work on things that I thought were strengths and grow even more.
I look back at the hard times- finding new work, moving to Pennsylvania, etc- and how they lead to blessings and good things. The craft store dying gave me a better job with a few more opportunities at BB&B. I hated, absolutely hated moving to Pennsylvania, but then it became a Promised Land of sorts for my family and I. I found a place to go to school and worked hard to graduate, which allowed me this job and life. I grew through service in the branch and very small ward I was a part of out East, as well as my time working with the YSA and planning things for them. My family now has a house and we've had other opportunities for growth. Dad is home more, which is amazing.
When five years had passed since arriving home from my mission, I was really freaked out and upset. Probably because I felt like I hadn't really accomplished what I wanted. These days it doesn't bother me, I'm calm and relaxed about it and more comfortable in my skin. I have a pretty good life, I've been able to achieve some independence.
Where will the next ten take me? I don't know, but I know that as I do the will of the Lord and do what I should, then I'll be happy no matter the challenges. His love is always there. I want to do my best to have a blessed life.
Here I am, ten years later, with a sweet friend at the Mesa temple. Life is good.
And yeah I'm still rockin' black skirts.