Friday, May 15, 2009

Minor Meltdown 5/13/09

Minor Meltdown 

Temp 69F
Wind-of course

Tonight, while working on some reports I have not gotten done over the last week and waiting for the sisters to come with their investigators for dinner, I had an unexpected experience; a minor meltdown. It was totally unexpected and quite a surprise since I thought I had gotten well-adjusted to the life and the location of our mission in Novosibirsk.

While working on my reports at my "desk", a keyboard drawer in the rolling computer stand that now holds our TV, VCR, DVD, I had my IPOD plugged into the speakers atop the TV and was listening to the Tab Choir's album "Love is Spoken Here" and a song came up that I had heard several times before, but to which I had paid little attention when suddenly I was focused on the words at the same time that I was working on the report rather mechanically.

The song is "Home is a Special Kind of Feeling" by John Rutter with words by David Grant. Here is a jpg of the first two pages of the song so that you can get the jest of the words. I tried to find a file that I could insert here, but was unsuccessful so I made this video with it playing in the background. It does not have the same impact on me now, but at that moment it was powerful.

This is the first line of the song. "Home is a special kind of feeling -- the feeling of a place where you belong -- A feeling that the world is left behind you -- Like a shelter from your care that seems to want you to be there."

As I remember, I was transported in my mind to our home in Sacramento and the tears began to run down my cheeks. That's all. I was just transported as if by the Spirit of Christmas Past to our home and I could see all of it, all at once, all at the same instant. As I have read in Moses and Abraham that they "comprehended it" completely, that was what happened in that instant. I experienced my home totally, completely in an instant and was yearning for my home; a deep longing for the place where our children grew up, where I grew up as a parent, where I matured as a husband, where I met the challenges and basked in the joys of my family. I wanted to be home, with all that I imagined, or saw, that being home could include. It only lasted a few minutes and I have not had that feeling before or since, but it was intense.

That experience was a great gift, a tender mercy from Heavenly Father to feel what these missionaries feel in their quiet, homesick moments. When they have met that last brusque Russki, when they have gotten that final refusal of the day to hear their message, when they get the "Dear John", when they just miss their family, in that midnight quiet hour when they wake from a dream of something at home and they experience what I did; I understand because I felt it.

If I were ever of a mind to minimize that feeling of homesickness, if I were ever inclined to say, "Suck-it-up Elder", if I were ever to be in a position to listen to a missionary's confession of these homesickness feelings, I will be the one to say that I understand because God has shown me what that feeling is.

God bless these missionaries; sisters and elders. They are doing one of the hardest things a 19 year old can do, go to a strange land, learn a language and culture, offer disinterested people an opportunity to repent of sins they have not considered sins and give their lives to serving God and Jesus Christ, and leave all they love and value for two years of relentless rejection and precious little encouragement. Without the Light of Christ and the Holy Ghost this would be a pretty dreary prospect for any young person, but these Elders and Sisters are doing it, and doing it well. They are wearing the full armor of God and doing His work. I love them, I admire them, I trust them, and I forget entirely how young they really are.

God bless these missionaries, God bless the senior couples who make their own sacrifices and give comfort to them, God bless the mission presidents who make an even greater sacrifice and give them counsel and direction, and God bless the members who give them the encouragement and contacts to teach. God bless us; everyone.

What a country


Belva said...

Hello Elder Dougie,
I had a bit of a melt down as soon as I saw your sweet house- Lots of memories there and down a few blocks is our sweet home. Sometimes I just want to get in a car (don't drive stick shift here) and go to Bel Air or Target. Sometimes I want to play with little babies, and watch the birds with our bird lover gretta, or sit and talk recipes with Stephanie..(not just on the phone, but face to face). It is raining today in Denmark, Carl has been at a priesthood meeting all day, and I have been watching horses dance, writing in our blog and enjoying Christmas music on an itunes radio station. When I read your blog, a flood of memories entered the room. Love having you so close in spirit and on your blog. We miss you but somehow feel a part of this grand adventure that we have chosen to participate in. Thank you for taking the time to let us in on your thoughts. We love you, Belva I mean Sister Belva

Shannon Simmons said...

Oh my! I've been doing so well with you being gone...but this last week when I went to plant herbs in the garden, tuck up the straying berry vines, trim the roses and worry about those ugly pesky beetles, I missed you. The house is fine and the yard needs more time than any of us can give it properly, but it will survive and parts of it will thrive. But, I missed your hands in the dirt with talk radio in the backround while we talk about gardening details and discuss doctrinal and philosophical concepts. Well, i dont want to add to your melt down. You will be home soon enough and this precious time of service will be completed all too quickly. In those moments of homesickness, when you feel the pang of missed familiarity, when you long for the routine that brings lasting memories, joy and closeness, remember that your children love you dearly. We pray for you and have parted with you because you are needed in a different part of the vineyard. We are blessed to have such treasures of relationships. I love you! Shan