It has been quite a remarkable week! The first and most exciting news I would like to share is that I will be leaving Decatur, Alabama and heading off to some of Alabama’s greener pastures! I’ve loved my time so much here in Decatur. The members and non-members here are some of the most wonderful people that I have ever met and they have made staying here a tremendous experience for me. I am also so grateful for all of the friendships I’ve made and all of the good times I’ve had.
In pondering the spectacular time I have spent here, I took a quick look back on my mission as a whole. I thought back to when I entered the MTC and what I was thinking and feeling at that time. It was a little like this: Two years? I have to do this mission thing for two years? That is an eternity! It is never going to end. How can I possibly do this? And now, with the blink of an eye, I am nearly half way done with my mission experience. Now the thoughts in my head are a little different: Whoa! Hold on! Slow down a little! How come this mission thing is going by so fast? It is going to be over before I know it!
I have a metaphor to share that describes what I have been going through. At the beginning of my mission, metaphorically I was looking up at a huge tree – the biggest tree that I had ever seen. Beginning my mission was like being told that I needed to chop this tree down. I was given an axe and some sharpening tools if needed and then I was told to go at it. So I began hacking away at the trunk of this tree. At the beginning, those MTC thoughts were floating around in my head: Eternity. Never going to end. How can I do this? But I kept chopping away time and time again, not really paying attention to the progress I was making. And actually, while I wasn’t really paying attention, I began enjoying swinging the ax at this tree trunk. The hard work that I was doing I began to love! In fact, the more I swung the ax, the more it stopped seeming like hard work and more like awesome fun! Then, suddenly the thoughts in my head dramatically changed! A sound, like that of a glass vase hitting the ground after being dropped from the top of a tall building, the incredible, booming sound of a CRACK emanated from the base of this huge tree I had been chopping away at!
Then I thought, Huh? I took a second and stepped back. O my goodness! I have made quite a bit of progress. This tree just cracked – a warning that it is going to fall pretty soon! This hasn’t taken very long at all; in fact, this work is going by too fast! I now loved this work and could not imagine what I was thinking before! Felling this tree isn’t going to take long at all! In short, many people in my life (mom, dad, brother, priesthood leaders) were right when they said that this tree chopping experience wouldn’t last forever and that the tree would fall before I knew it, and to enjoy the work before it was all over. In other words, the mission experience is going by super fast and I need to enjoy every moment that I have! So that is most definitely my thought process now. I had better get chopping and enjoy as much of this time in Alabama as I can before my mission comes to a crashing end!
I tell this metaphor for two reasons. First of all, I like the analogy. And secondly, this experience of chopping down a tree is fresh in my mind because my companion and I actually brought down a tree this week while doing service for a recent convert! So I thought my ideas tied together beautifully! (See the picture) I am so grateful for all of the wonderful experiences that I am having here in Alabama and I am looking forward to all of the experiences that I have yet to encounter. I love and miss everybody back home and hope you are having a wonderful week!