Wednesday, September 22, 2010

This is the testimony last of all

September 20, 2010
 This week has been the last of a lot of things, but Sunday felt like it. The last time I usher people into the west theatre, the last sacrament meeting in Nauvoo, the last district meeting, the last time listening to a general authority speak to me as a missionary (I don’t care what anyone says, its different as a missionary), the last dinner at the Ludwigs with all the sisters (I went back for seconds), the last drive down the river road, the last time I’ll watch the lilies on the Mississippi turn from white to a hazelnut-mud brown, one last time serving in Carthage, the last time testifying of the story there, the last district discussion with the senior couples…Today hasn’t been much different. Last load of laundry, last walk down Muholland Street, last e-mail etc.. I am acutely aware that I am leaving. The closer and closer it gets the more peaceful I’ve felt about the timing, the past and the future. Peace eases our burdens, but it doesn’t take them away. We still bare them, but we “cannot feel them upon our backs”.  I guess what I’m saying is that I wouldn't have it any other way, but I still have a fog of sadness about me. Maybe not even sadness, just somber...ness. I feel very sober about pretty much everything. My sense of humor is all but gone. Sister Schetselaar was such a great last companion. She helped keep me healthily focused. We set goals, we reached them, we conquered lessons. We speak only in British accents after nine. She acted as if I wasn’t going home even when I’ve felt completely overwhelmed and surrounded by it all. It’s exactly what I needed.

     Sister Aston is writing her family next to me. We’ve spent most the day packing and shopping and getting things done. Tomorrow we’ll serve in the visitors center, I’ll have my exit interview, and then we’ll be busy for the rest of the night with the temple, dinner at the Ludwigs for all the sister leaving, and one last show of Rendezvous.  I would imagine that even in the midst of it all it won't really feel like it’s happening to me. Watching Rendezvous will be the last thing we do here in Nauvoo.

     As I’ve been writing this I had a very odd thought come to my head. I wondered if this was how the Savoir felt in His last days. He knew He had to finish His course and do what His Father had asked of Him, but He too had served, lived, laughed, loved, and now it was nearly finished. I see that as an odd thought because what the Savor went through is completely different, much more sacred, much more intense and something that I will never have to face in my life. I am grateful for that. I won't have to face a lot of things because of what He went through.  Some of the things I will never have to face are purely because He faced them for me. But I do know that regardless of how separated I may be from the things He felt in those last days He is not separated from what I am feeling in mine as a missionary. He did feel this way. He felt and knows how every missionary feels when they are torn from a world they love and are thrust back into one they’ve grown estranged from. He felt and knows exactly how it feels for a parent to lose a child and vice aversa. Not only that, but He knows how a specific parent feels to lose a specific child. He knows how a patient feels when they are told they have cancer, incurable or otherwise, and how it feels to be the doctor who breaks the news. He knows how it feels at the point of recognition when we finally see the error in our ways. He knows how it feels to have to correct it and how hard it is to find peace again.

     There are so many more things I have gained on my mission than given. Eternal friendships, a greater understanding of His love for me and for all people, a firmer knowledge of His plan for us, where we came from, why we’re here and where we’re going, and most importantly how we get there. A closer relationship with the spirit, softer heart, a better view of myself.  18 months has felt like 18 seconds, but it’s time now. In those short 18 seconds my entire eternity has been altered. I love Jesus Christ. I know Him. He is the Savior and Redeemer of the world. As we come to better know Him we better know our way. He is our way. He is the light and the life of the world. He has drawn a clear line and I will be found on His side. The Missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints can and are more than willing to help anyone come to know Him better. They are His representatives and are commissioned by the only true and living church on the Earth. This is His Church. The Savior’s Church. After centuries of being lost, it’s here. I'm humbled to be a part of it.


Sister Bailey 

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