Dear Anziano Robertson,
Today is the Sunday before Thanksgiving. I spoke in church with three other missionary moms…..and in the end a surprise missionary dad. His was the best.
I was running my usual late and made an entrance in the middle of announcements with several other late comers. Bad form. Oh well. I made it. Devon and Jason didn’t. Dad and Delanie were compelled to sit on the front row as there was no other place to sit.
I felt pretty calm….content with the message I had prepared this morning….with the honesty of it. “Sunshine in my Soul” was the opening song. This was great as I sometimes default to thoughts of summer and sunshine in moments of need. Then the Bishop got up to announce the line up as in a John Madden game day moment. I had been sitting there wondering how the meeting would procede and just who would go first, second, third, and fourth. Thought of the four of us moms as part of some crazy missionary mom relay team relaying missionary things of our once swimmer sons. My fellow swimmers prepared with tissue boxes, notes, racing hearts. Hmm. I felt out of place in searching for goggles and swim cap. JK. Bishop Donaldson announced the order. Sonia would go first and speak of J.R.and Christmastown, Germany, Wendy, next with word of Kyler and the super typhoon in the Philippines, then Deani with reports of Zach an North Carolina BarBQ, followed by a special musical number, then me and my Italian son. Wow! This is exactly how I had imagined it….and it happened. Inconceivable! The moments passed both slowly and quickly, much like I imagine the playing out of a mission. I would feel fine and calm and then suddenly dashed and tachacardic in waves of sudden emotion. This requiring much self talk and secret prayer.
I enjoyed listening to the other mom’s. Couldn’t help but wonder the inner workings of these and other mom’s like us. We are problably not all that different from most mothers, mothers of the strippling warriors, or even Mary, the mother of Jesus. Most of the time not asked to share tender things. Most of the time just tucking away things. Things of heart swellings and heart breaks, in keeping them to ourselves, as if the heart were one giant Book of Rememberance. I believe in muscle memory. Yes, even in heart muscle memory. When we stand before Jesus someday, we will be asked to open this book. Hopefully with few crampings. Hopefully his kind eyes will look past the sad parts to the more happy ones in healing us.
As each mother offered her thoughts, email out-takes, impressions, I was hearing a common theme of gratitude and humbling, in spite of different writing syles and deliveries. That which rang truest, as if like Christmas bells, was a love and commitment to Christ and His mission. JR, Kyler, Zach, you……all of you…are well enough off, safe, and growing in the love of God and the gospel of Christ. What more could a mother ask for than knowing this?
Thank you for the email Donavon. Thank you for the pictures and the occasional teaching story. I shared a bit about Sicily, and about your life long friend who was once almost a Catholic Priest. Told about the ferry shuttle from the boot to the island. Kind of messed this part up though, I think. Dunno. Spoke kind of nervously off the cuff for a few minutes and then turned to my notes. I have attached these.
As anchor of the relay team, I followed the musical number, one that I remember you playing on the violin a number of times, one that felt sort of like a National anthem. Wasn’t, but caused me to miss the many hours of you and the girls at the paino, or you playing violin. This such a good feeling. I tried to stay with this soothing moment as I began speaking. The five minutes turned into twenty minutes of conviction, but ended on time as a meeting should. Early would have been nice though.
Then we were surprised by an add on, when Michael Collins came up from the congregation to deliver a few final, unexpected remarks about Slade and his mission experience in Germany. Not sure Mike, or even the Bishop were expecting this quite frankly, as it had not been announced. This, the same German mission as JR., but sounding very different indeed. Mike, Slade’s dad, read an email of a conversion/baptism story. This a rarity by most Germany Mission standards, as there are very few baptisms had in this place. Jason could tell you about this, and maybe he has already, as he was a missionary in Germany some years ago.
The unique thing about this retelling is that either Slade, or Mike ommitted many important details in the retell, on pupose. Mike explained that there have been serious privacy/disclosure problems surrounding the release of information of this nature. I don’t understand this. The email read/sounded a lot like a mad libs, cloze passage which left out most names, places, and any incriminating information that would tie people to places and events. Made Slade sound more like a secret agent opperative than a missionary. Very strange in the “Shwiss,” dub in/ dub out sound effect provided by Mike, it became an almost comedic rendering. This only worked for a little while though. Confusing for sure. Did not feel right.
This more consistent with Mike’s repressive, anti- social tendencies, not exactly Slade-like. No matter what it was or wasn’t, the root feeling was sweet, tender, and reduced the dad and me to tears. For me it was the favorite sharing offered. I wondered at the courage it took for Michael to get up and to share at all. He is so very private. I was glad he did share. I wanted to find him afterward, but he got away…..no where to be found. Tough day.
Then I was off to the nursery to teach two year olds how to be grateful for the Creation of the Earth….a Thanksgiving song, no doubt. “For the Beauty of the Earth…..for the beauty of the sky…..etc.” Toddlers are the best audience of all…..absent of judgement, no pretense, possessing the purest motives, if they possess motives at all, full of pure love. Simply fun. I told stories, and sang them songs. We colored, made books, and ate snacks. If I had to define this formally, the dictionary definition would be found alphabetically under G. G for “Godlike” or “G for “Goodness.” Yep. G for “Grateful.”
Home for leftovers, Hallmark movies, and Delanie and Jason’s beginnings of Gingerbread Sky Scraper designs. I can hear the new Dremell that I have only used once in drilling seashells for the mermaid gate last summer. Maybe I have not mentioned this thing before. Oh, well. No matter.
Hope you are having a great week full of joy and happier stories of heart turnings. I love you beyond words. Love, Mom.
PS- I will continue to attempt technology and sending of things to you. I put some money in your Zions debit account. Happy Holidays. 🙂