Sunday, October 03, 2010

A Homecoming


The Semi-Annual Cinnamon Rolls are rising on this autumnal Sunday morning, so I finally have a few minutes to spare. I'm wearing woolly socks and a sweater, which I love. The seasons are changing and I am glad.

So far, the best part of fall happened on Wednesday. That was the day that Johnathan came home from Chile. It was a good day, and all the days since he arrived have been full of simple joys. I'm thrilled he's home, we're having lots of fun, and we only have him here for another 10 days before he's off to work and live on his own. Here are the photos:

Me, waiting with my traditional sign, which idea I got from a friend. It is so fun to have passengers from his flight say that he's coming or that they sat next to him.

Eric, me, Ev and Johnathan's good friend. Sara was helping with video.

We Have Visual!

The whole experience was recorded and streamed live to Ustream where my entire family could tune in and watch. That was cool.

That hug I've been waiting for.

And one for Dad.
This is out of order but, here I think is when I first saw him and realized he was really home. I'm tearing up again just thinking of it. My darling friend came to the airport just to take photos just so I could have a record of this moment.


Hugs for Ev

And Sara

And Reggie

Together Again


More techo-togetherness. Here's the streaming video of Johnathan talking to his brother on the phone. Immediately, he was able to connect with family all over the country.




He is happy and a little shell-shocked and wondering how to fill his time after being so busy in a very specific way for so long. He helps me all the time and asks how I'm doing and gives wonderful hugs. He is very attuned to the spirit in our home, so our behavior has been elevated and we are trying to be nice all the time. Yes, it may come as a shock to know that we are not nice all the time at home, but the wonderful, peaceful spirit surrounding my second son is reminding us that there is a better way.

He has no interest yet in the trappings of his former life, but has good friends who are shepherding him through this decompression period. People familiar with the culture of the Mormon church chuckle at newly returned missionaries because they are a bit kerflummoxed at the onslaught of everyday-ness that comes their way. There are definitely funny moments, but before I laugh, I try to think about it from his perspective: He's just come from a sort of spiritually sequestered existence that he put his whole heart and soul into creating for himself. He got up at 7 each day and studied for an hour-language, scriptures, doctrine, etc. Then he spent the rest of the day walking the city where he happened to live at the time, actively seeking out opportunities to help people, to talk to them about their faith, to offer to teach them about Jesus Christ if they were interested, etc. They only stopped for meals. He never had a car or rode a bike or had real leisure time for two years. He told us on the way home that he could have walked the 12 miles home from the airport and been just fine with it. In between all that work, he willingly excused himself from just about everything that any ordinary 19-21 year old would be doing. No video games, texting, TV, movies, dating, newspapers, rock music, etc. This lifestyle allowed him to focus. To feel the power that comes from sacrificing something. To find out what was important to him.

So, all this sudden ease and free time come as a bit of a shock to him, plus he is currently not equipped for the life that his peers are leading. He no longer owns a cell phone or an mp3 player. We're working on that. He is remembering how to drive, but right now, he'd rather be working or helping someone than catching up on the movies he's missed or just hanging out. He'll get better soon. It is a temporary condition. And every missionary comes home in his own way, so I'm just observing, not comparing. It's all good. As I said, there are some funny moments, but really, it is pretty satisfying to see a kid so serious-minded and focused for the moment. Isn't that what we always nag our teens to be? So here he is. Now for the balance. The job he has now is to take what he's learned and figure out how to integrate it into the ordinary days ahead of him, the ones that will include the whole world in his face all the time.

11 comments:

  1. I got teary-eyed, and I don't even know him... :-) Oh, Kellie, it must be so wonderful to have him home!

    I liked how you described his "condition" as "temporary"; it made me smile.

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  2. Ah, sweet memories! Parent pay-off once again. We wouldn't want them to come home acting any other way. Glad Reggie was there - he'll help him "adjust". Who needs a cell phone anyway?? Haa... XXOO I"ll be right over for a cinnamon roll.....

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  3. What a wonderful time for your family! I am sure you are enjoying every moment.

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  4. Cynthia Little10/03/2010 3:53 PM

    How exciting for you guys! It must feel so good. Ashlyn is very excited to meet her brother-in-law. Hope we will get a chance to meet him soon as well:)

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  5. I'm crying now. Missionaries at the airport get me every time. I was crying before I saw that picture of you seeing him for the first time, then I saw that and I'm REALLY crying now. What a great day for you.

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  6. I'm so happy for you all! What a great homecoming he had!

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  7. And of course, your life is also the better for the experiences that he has had. I am sure there is also some memory of your experiences in there too.

    So glad I got to meet Sara and Ev. Hopefully I will get to meet them all eventually!!

    Enjoy your time as I know you will!

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  8. What a wonderful documentation of a fabulous Day!!! I enjoyed reading about it, and how cool is it that family was right there. I had the privilege of watching 2 brother in laws come off their missions and go through the worldly detox... its actually sad in a way that they have to come back out of that way of life. I can't wait to serve a mission and devote all my time to the Lord. :-) Someday....
    Oh and PS... I looked kerflummoxed up in the dictionary cuz, you have such a wide vocabulary that I thought it was a real word and it was going to become my new favorite word!! :-) Although I didn't find it there, it is a wonderful word! :-)

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  9. I can only imagine how great this day was for you. It is fun to hear stories about adjusting return missionaries. When my niece came home, she could not stop wearing dresses for almost a week.

    I am glad he is home again with you.

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  10. I am tucking that sign idea away for later. He is WONDERFUL that son of yours and I am so glad he is back safe and sound. Glorious.

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  11. What a wonderful post! He looks like such a man! Love those precious pictures. I love the closeup of you!

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Thank you for sharing your insights!