And to the few of you that read this blog, I suppose I'll have to tell you the thing I'm not really talking about in public because there's still that little voice in my head that says "No. You're not. So just be quiet."
I'm going on a mission.
At least, to concede to the voice in my head, that's my intent.
I've had the notion swirling in my head on and off for about the last year. As you may recall, they changed the mission age last October, and I feel like I've written this before so I won't be extensive with it, I realized I wasn't in an position to serve a mission. I wasn't one of those girls who could grab the phone in that instance and set up a meeting with my bishop and post on Facebook about how my mission papers were a few signatures away from being sent in. And that bothered me.
I've never planned on a mission. Never. I always told myself I'd wait until I was 21 to decide; by then I'd surely be married or steadily dating a fellow that was days or weeks away from popping the question, and the idea of leaving my secular life for 18 months wouldn't matter or be applicable.
Over the past year a lot has happened. I meant to blog about it on Tuesday, as it was the one year anniversary of that time I met Jason Mraz and it only seemed appropriate, but I haven't had time. And now my mind's on other things. Climbing out of my digression, within the past year I decided to try for the mission thing--tentatively--and see what came out of it. I started reading the Book of Mormon daily. I started saying "official" prayers. I took a mission prep institute class.
And I'd decide to go. I'd share something in a religious context and would feel this buzz that a mission would be the right choice. Then I'd leave institute and it'd be gone. I'd lay everything out and conclude it was best to stay home and continue on in the schooling and the hunting for a man. And then an hour later I'd want to go on a mission.
I couldn't keep an answer, and it began to worry me that this was one of those instances the Lord was leaving up to me; that I would be fine and could progress in whichever course I should chose, but there was nothing critical hinging on the choice. That's all it was: a choice.
And He was letting me use my God-given right to chose.
And that scared me. If you've ever worked with me, you know I tend to be indecisive about a lot of things, or that I at least require someone else's opinion to balance out my perspective before I come to a conclusion. Deciding to set aside 18 months of my life is not a small choice. And I hated that I had to chose.
I wanted a Saul of Tarsus moment. I wanted to be struck down with the right option and to rise from the moment as though scales were falling from my eyes, knowing what course I should tread with the remainder of my life.
I suppose, using that lovely thing called hindsight, I've reached that point.
Kate Carroll's farewell. I almost didn't go. I had my own church meetings I could be going to, no one was going with me to her farewell. I didn't need to go.
But I went. And I remember writing in my notebook that I was glad I was there, that I had made that sacrifice to come and see her off and hear her speak. I was grateful for the experience, and (and I wrote this at that moment, mind) if I hadn't gone, I wouldn't have had it. What experiences would I miss--never knowing what they could have been--if I elected not to go on a mission?
Every friend I've mentioned my indecision regarding the mission to has told me without hesitation that I would make a good missionary. I had a girl in my mission prep class seek me out after class one day asking me how far along I was on my papers, and when I explained I still was undecided she told me based on my comments in class that I would be an excellent missionary.
"I'd like to live out of state. At least for a few years." I said in between chips.
"Yeah. I went on a mission; I could live anywhere, I've proven that to myself. I want to live around here." He said it and it smarted; I knew he didn't mean it as a stab, but I took it as one. A mission would cure my itch to get past these mountains and experience something beyond the shade of my current umbrella. He didn't know, but I reacted to it as if he understood my want to know where God would send me, should I ask for the call.
I talked with one of my married friends and she pointed out how the world is getting worse and children born into this world will need a righteous priesthood holder in the family. A girl I've never even personally met but became friends with on Facebook because I knew her older sister posted some quote from an Apostle about who better worthy to raise a righteous generation than a woman who has served the Lord.
I made a pro/con list last Sunday in sacrament meeting. And as I wrote the cons it hit me how stupid they all were. For months I'd been clinging to these factors as my, for lack of a better word, excuse to stay safely sheltered in the linear life I have built. And they were stupid. I had to make myself finish the list because I just wanted to give up because they were so dumb, and I knew--for the first time--in that moment that I've known all along what the answer was. I've known all along what the answer had to be. I just really didn't want to see it. I wanted the Saul of Tarsus moment to knock me off my feet and into the field because I didn't have the strength to come to the conclusion on my own. If I had to go there, I wanted Him to push me there.
That night I was talking with my parents and remembered the one con I hadn't written: money.
And everything came crashing and it all felt so wrong and I could do it. I couldn't go.
I talked with one my best friends yesterday and she did some math with me, and we determined that if I spend next semester in the way I planned when the mission thing became very apparent, I can finance a mission perfectly.
And I can't ignore it anymore. Thousands of times I made the decision and changed my mind, then a few days later made the decision and changed my mind. Things are different this time. I made my decision, changed my mind, and since that moment it hasn't left my mind. I haven't had that hitherto. I haven't had this film of "mission" glossing over all my thoughts, I haven't had that as the backdrop in my mind, as the dart board I aim all my darts at. But I do now. I can't get it out of my head.
And I feel stupid that it took me a year to get to this point, but at the same time I needed that year of unofficial preparation. I needed a year of my optimistic plans falling through, a year of my faith growing, a year of my courage developing, a year to establish an open love for this gospel as something I not only carry but share. I needed this.
I needed to wait.
I told him I'd prayed about my ex, and that the answer was to keep carrying on; I haven't had enough experience with boys to know if the relationship needed ending or not.
"Did you...pray about us?" He asked me.
"Yes." I told him, truthfully.
"And what...was your...answer...?"
"Wait." I answered, almost before he could finish his sentence.
I've been waiting for a while. I wasn't sure what for, only that good things were coming to me in due course of time.
There's a difference in wish and wait. Abby said the hardest part was deciding. And I don't think I can hide from it anymore.
All the time was worth the wait.