(From Sister Gardner’s mom: She will be transferred to Salzburg, Austria on Thursday. Change is always filled with many different emotions)
This week just seemed to sneak on by. Slipped through my fingers to be honest.
Slipped through my fingers… Who may you ask. Well maybe things like people who have been your best friends for more than the last half of an entire year. There are many things that are needless to say about how I feel about leaving, but then there is a wind in my hair, and grass covered with little blue and white flowers. I can imagine myself climbing the peaceful hills and it calms the twinges of sadness that come with goodbyes.
Goodness, you think I would be better at it by now.
Will I ever learn?
The week started, a whirlwind of trying to make sure my little darling Sister Strihavka, was all ready to go. ( She was heading to the Provo, Utah MTC) Finding last minute things tucked away in corners, and giving any contact numbers she might need or money for a Jamba Juice at the airport. As we loaded up her suitcases into the back of brother H’s car, I could not help but feel anxious. And then actually saying goodbye seeing her get on the train, a way by which I could not go. I felt like I was sending my kid on a mission. Now, I cannot compare with the real mama Strihavka, but I suppose In a way it was true. I hoped her companion would treat her nice and she would make friends in the MTC and get there safely and have enough to eat…. Und so weiter. She was my little girl and now she was off to go change more people’s lives… Just like she did mine and all the people she came in contact with.
I couldn’t run any faster and I was already sprinting nearing the end of the train platform, the pen had flown sometime out of my coat pocket and the bag had been thrown down sometime before. Smiling on the inside from the ever present concern on her face I know so well, pointing the pen that was already meters behind me lying forgotten on the cracked cement. I gave one last look to the Austrian looking on from a small train window of the train speeding away faster than my legs could carry me. And then with one last wave. I slowed, watching the DB zug move on past, I kept waving even when I am sure she had moved back from the window taking care of the two stuffed suitcases. As the train pulled further away, to my surprise the tears did not come. Just a sort of empty feeling for a moment. Like when you realize you lost something, and there is no way you would find it. Joining after a few moments, or what felt like a few minutes, a few minutes of watching and wondering. A arm comes around my shoulder, putting the blue and black pen in my hand. I turn clutching the G2 and take silently the bag also offered from the serving hands. Then sister whiting and I go back, arm in arm to my two brothers waiting all the way back at the loading platform .
She is gone. But I am not alone.
Three tender mercies for you.
It came through a phone call. Which came to reality in half of a shared apartment bedroom over salted peanuts and vitamin c juice. D had a dream you see. A few times in the same night, after a day filled with General Conference. Something along the lines of inspired words from a prophet entering a heart through the power of the Holy Ghost. And being in the church with the missionaries and everyone, standing in the lobby just down from the font. With a feeling of needing to be baptized.
But repeated until there was no denying it. I mean, I have really received so much revelation from dreams, but you read it in the scriptures. I know it is possible. I think the amazing thing about decisions that we make with the Lord is that suddenly we know that we will do anything to get to our goal of baptism or endurance. Even commit to keep the word of wisdom… This coming from the man who on our first visit ask most pointedly, is it a sin to drink alcohol and then quickly left before explaining had reached much of a conclusion. That is D.
I hate when things fall out. Ok? Here’s the thing, they don’t usually. There are many challenges of teaching German culture people but keeping appointments is not one of them… But living in Germany does not exactly mean you live the culture.
Anyhow, we stood facing the grey fortress before us. Glass and metal and some desert plants In an upper story window. We stared more expectantly at the small typed names and little buttons with a wonder of what is behind klingle (door bell) number 5. We did the whole building. Some answered most did not. No one invited us in. Having finished the building. We started to walk away when we are surprised by a opening glass door and a very tall man… And as the story continues…. We sat drinking mineral wasser in an posh modern apartment living room with the newspaper reading would have been actor R P and his wife strawberry blond C of Deutschland. Turns out, as we found out from our quick conversation in the lobby floor of the apartment building in and out of the glass door, that good feeling I had while pressing a doorbell for a certain here P was not just me. P got to know the church in Portugal where his friends and even sisters joined the church. He was the one who asked if we where Mormons when we explained further what on earth we were doing there. That is not the usual response…. But then again coming down five flights of stairs to talk to someone is not normal either. He is about to dismiss us, but then pauses, asking why on earth we decided to klingel. He goes outside jesterimg to the array of small metal buttons…. “There are a lot of names here, why did you pick mine, he points to it, And which name out of all of them but THE name. P… I say it to him plain. Explaining that as I read the name, I though. I want to meet these people, I felt that I needed to do it. Boom, the Holy Ghost comes diving in like horses sprinting at the bell, or swimmers when that whistle blows. Like posed technicians the moment we have black out. I can feel it, he can feel it, it is like a tangible substance in the air…. “Everywhere I go, you (the missionaries) are there, on vacation, a year ago at a train station,… Why do I keep meeting you people.” … “Maybe you should ask God that.”
A soft sort of chuckle… ” you might be right about that.” So a bit more negotiating… Saturday 16, but only because of what you said…
And so Saturday… 17, after coming back to give a bit of time to clean up research newspapers and actually tell his wife who was coming to visit. We were sitting drinking water, talking about family history and Jesus Christ. Getting to share the video that we had so plainly explained standing beneath a rising collection of lives and homes… To start.-Well not start but rather continue- the journey of this man to finally accept the many second chances that the lord has given.
On Wednesday we planted seeds that would become a Garden, on Sunday they where spindly little beginnings sprouting up to a sun accessible through a window view sitting quite contently on plastic plates and propped up by old worn pass along cards. The miracle of seeds planted in faith… I can’t ask for anything more.
Next time I write I will be writing from the hills alive with music.
Have a good week. I will keep praying… And singing you can be sure of that. Your job, keep that song in your heart and the prayer that it is… Good luck. Break a leg this week.
I say that In an entirely true theater person way. Much love.