It was via Skype, for which I am eternally grateful. I remember being so excited to talk to them and see their faces. Keegs hair was out of control long and curly. Liam looked not so little anymore.
They wanted to talk to me the most. They wanted to hear all about the mission. I told them all that I could. I showed them their sign names.
I talked to Mom and Dad next. I told them about my mission. I updated them on things that they asked about.
But, I didn't tell them too much.
Because I knew I'd see them just a few short months later.
"Man, I can't wait to serve a mission." Words spoken by Keegan Parrish.
I realized something today.
Unless you have served a mission, it is more difficult to listen to the missionary stories. Maybe not hard, but I've come to realize that the people who have served missions are the ones that really connect to your stories. They know what you've gone through. They understand your "missionary vocabulary." They get it when you talk about the struggles. They really understand your joy when even just one person comes to church.
I don't know, they just understand.
And that was something that I was super excited to talk about with them.
Especially Dad. Because he would have understood.
Keegan and Liam were planning on being able to understand when they turned 18.
Dad and Mom were planning on being able to understand when the time was right.
It hit me today, how badly I had wanted to share those experiences with them. How badly I wanted to reminisce and remember and reflect with them. How much I wanted to tell the boys, and get them excited about their own missions. It was going to be so cool! We would have all served.
I wish I could have known that that was going to be the last time I would see them. I wish I could have known that it was my last chance to verbally tell them.
Patience is such a virtue. The unknown may frighten us. The possibilities keep us on our toes. And the yearning within us causes us to wonder. And sometimes hurt.
Patience is definitely a virtue I have yet to achieve.
I like this description of patience:
Patience is the capacity to endure delay, trouble, opposition, or suffering without becoming angry, frustrated, or anxious. It is the ability to do God's will and accept his timing, When you are patient, you hold up under pressure and are able to face adversity calmly and hopefully. Patience is related to hope and faith- you must wait for the Lord's promised blessings to be fulfilled. (Preach my Gospel, page 120)
So, I'll wait.
And one day, I'll be able to tell them everything. And one day, they will be able to tell me about their missions.
Because that is what they are doing. They are doing missionary work.
That's what it's all about.
It's all about the work, and learning, and growing, and developing. It's a constant, strait path.
No, not straight.
It's a one way road, and so narrow, and requires our absolute best. Not perfection. That's impossible. But our best.
And our best is always possible.
I can't wait to have that time again.
I can't wait when we are all sitting together, and we can share everything that we learned from our missions.
"And now my beloved brethren, I would exhort you to have patience, and that ye bear with all manner of afflictions... But that ye have patience, and bear with those afflictions, with a firm hope that ye shall one day rest from all your afflictions." Alma 34:40-41
The longer the wait, the sweeter the reunion.