Wow, I am so grateful to so many of you for the great outpouring of love and support I have received. I have had more hugs, expressions of caring, and warm smiles in the last few days than I have had in months. For anyone who does not know, I am at home. The difficulties I was facing were determined to be too much to try to face while on the mission.
I had about 35 hours of travel from the airport in Brazil to California. I spent much of my time concerned about how I should interact with my family, and what life would be like. I am sad to have left the field, but as I walked around the corner in the airport and saw my family standing there with a sign saying they loved me a grin spread across my face and I knew that I was home. Life is so hard sometimes, but after the Lord, the family is everything. Our greatest joys in life come from the family. Whether it is the family we have now, our friends, or the family we dream to one day have, true peace and happiness can be found in the idea of an eternal family. I have a long path ahead of me and many long days, but I know that I am loved and my family is here.
I was afraid that when I arrived at church on Sunday that I would receive judgmental looks and difficult questions, but it didn’t happen. I was welcomed home with open hands and open hearts. I don’t really have a lot to report this week, but I just want to reiterate how wonderful everyone has been so far. No one knows the specifics of what is going on and yet they are so willing to love me. I was afraid that people would not love me because I wasn’t able to fulfill my responsibilities as a full-time missionary, but that was not the case. I am currently on track to return to the mission field in April. I don’t know where I will be serving, but I definitely plan to be serving again.
It does not seem appropriate to keep the name of my blog so I will be changing the title soon. I’m not sure yet what I will change it to, just that a change will happen.
Lastly, I have decided to change my name and go by my middle name. I have disliked my first name for a long time and have wrestled with the decision to change it since I was 11. Now, at this transitional and pivotal time in my life, I am making that change. From now on I would like to be called Drew. I hope that isn’t too weird for you, but I suppose that it is my name and as I introduce myself as Drew people will come to just assume that is my name.
My quote of the day is actually just my life mantra. John Locke said “Tabula Rasa.” It means “clean slate.” He was referring to the human brain at birth being empty and people being determined by their life experiences. I don’t like that definition so I changed it to suit my lifestyle. I wake up every single day knowing that regardless of what happened yesterday, happens today, or will happen tomorrow, today will be a good day. I will be happy and I will make it the best day possible. I do not often feel sad and I never feel discouraged because those feelings don’t help me to improve. You too can live your life and make the conscious choice that you will never have a bad day.
I love you and am grateful for all of your support,
Note from mom:I want to thank all of you for your amazing support for my son and our family this week during this unexpected transition. We have been quite literally overwhelmed by the support and love we have received from so many of you in person and through messages. What could have been an extremely uncomfortable situation for all of us, has instead been a happy reunion of family and friends that care deeply for each other and are not afraid to show it. This outpouring of love is exactly what the Savior wants from us when he tells us in John 15:12 “This is my commandment, That ye love one another; as I have loved you.” And in 1 John 4:12 “If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.” For those of you who are interested, I would like to share some of my feelings from the last few days.
As Drew has been working on improving himself in the mission field, I have also been working on developing my Christlike qualities here at home. It has been a wonderful experience to learn alongside him – even though we have been on the other side of the world from each other. In the blog post from 6-11 he talks about charity – this has been on my mind a lot, especially this last week. Charity is truly the ability to show Christ’s love for another person to the extent that they can really KNOW you love them. As much as I would like to say I am confident in my ability to show my love for those I care deeply about, I know I fall short and hurt or disappoint the people I love more often than I would like. I continue to work on this trait that is such a vital part of our foundation in the gospel of Christ.
When we were officially notified that Drew would be returning home to us, my first and overreaching thought was “How do I show my son that I love him without exception?” I did not have the opportunity to email or speak to Drew before he left Brazil, so I had to rely on the Lord to carry my love as my son traveled home alone – not really knowing what he would encounter when he arrived. I was not nervous for myself, but I was apprehensive for my son because in these unforeseeable situations Satan discourages us and allows doubt to creep into even the most secure of circumstances. I didn’t want him to hesitate as he walked around the corner in the airport – wondering if we would still really love him. I don’t know what he was expecting, but as soon as he saw us I think he knew it would be okay. His face filled with his silly smile and I knew that he was home, which is exactly where he needs to be at this time. I have felt totally comfortable with him every moment since.
Because I have been praying to increase my level of charity, I received a confirmation from the Spirit that I have succeeded in some small measure. I realized that I have absolutely zero embarrassment over the fact that my sweet boy has come home from his mission earlier than anticipated. I feel no need to explain myself or him to anyone. I just love him without condition or effort. What a blessing this charity is in my life – I hope to understand it more deeply each day as I continue to work through my many shortcomings.
I will close with the first thought that came to my mind when Drew told us he may be coming home. Elder Holland stated: “You have a limited time to be a missionary, but regardless of the work that happens, if you are changed at the end, it is all worth it.” I can testify that the time Drew spent in Brazil has truly changed not only Drew, but myself and many others for the better. This is a blessing we will always cherish.