Of his life.
Of so many of our lives.
A day we've dreamed of.
A day, he most of all, has been praying would finally come.
Since Gary turned in his mission papers to church headquarters at the beginning of the month, these days just have seemed to drag on and on. The holiday rush has honestly been a welcome distraction in some ways. We've been sitting on pins and needles, anxious to know where in this world Gary would be called to serve his mission. His ecclesiastical leaders told him to expect that the letter would come today.
Gary brought over his stuff late last night to sleep here. Obviously, none of us slept very much. Think Christmas Day anticipation x10. Keith and I laughed, noticing it was 1:30 in the morning and all we could hear were the sounds of Gary downstairs rummaging through the Lego box that Isaac had been playing with during the day. We smiled there in the dark. It was a happy sound- this way of his he found to occupy his mind.
In our town, the post office usually calls prospective missionaries early in the morning to notify them that their letter is in. Whether to hold it or deliver it. No call came by quarter to 8 and knowing I couldn't wait any longer, I went ahead and made the call. Sure enough, the letter was there. We all piled into the van. Such joy, laughter, and expectation filled the air as we drove to pick it up and then on to Mama's and Papa's house to gather as a family. To share it all with them.
Each of us made our guesses. Excitement, love, and pure joy reigned. We knelt in prayer and listened to Gary's sweet sincere prayer of gratitude and humble plea for peace.
I thought my heart would burst out of my chest. Beating so fast and so hard. We were all literally holding our breath.
And then there was that tender silence.
Our waiting while he weeps. Tears of utter happiness.
" Dear Elder C____,
You are hereby called to serve as a missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. You are assigned to labor in the Finland Helsinki Mission. It is anticipated that you will serve for a period of 24 months..."
Calling to share the good news with loved ones. Spending the day back at home digesting it all, letting it all sink in. Visiting with eager- to- find- out- the- news friends of his. Listening to online Finnish instructions- how to count and what this new and different language sounds like. All of us agreeing that his love and ease of learning languages might be one of the factors in his being assigned there. Cranking up Sibelius's Finlandia and feeling the sudden stirrings of pride for this people and culture he'll soon learn to love.
Such day of joy and jubilation.
This day of true rejoicing.
An early Christmas present.
Sweetness none of us will ever forget.