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|
|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 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.