31 August 2014

Farewell, but not yet goodbye

For years and years, when a young man or woman left to serve as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, there was an event, usually a couple of Sundays before they left known as the missionary farewell. By the time they were mercifully shot shut down and replaced with a focus on the missionary and gospel teaching, these had become, in many cases, highly produced events. Typically, it involved several members of the family speaking about the missionary and it always included a few stories meant to embarrass said missionary. There were a couple of musical numbers by the missionary's family, or his/her friends, and then the missionary would speak. Bigger than this though was the Open House associated with the farewell. Invitations were sent, themes were created, and food specific to the missionary's assigned field of service was offered.

I know of where I speak. When I went out, mission farewell extravaganzas were pretty extreme. My open house included a centerpiece made of bread in the shape of, wait for it, an alligator. Spilling out of its mouth was a cornocopia of Florida fruit. The only thing my open house lacked was either a cocaine bust or an appearance by a couple of "Miami Vice" look-alikes. It was the 80's after all. Nearly thirty years on, can I just say I'm glad things have changed. It is now, mercifully, a much more subdued, simpler (see yesterday's post!) affair.

Today The Boy spoke in our services as i was his 'farewell.' He spoke sincerely of the opportunities in his life that he has had to make choices. He spoke of the examples, from Scripture and in real life, that have impacted his life for good. I am grateful for all those that have been an influence for good in his life. He spoke of his favorite scripture, which is found in the Book of Mormon:

O be wise; what can I say more?

There's a lot of wisdom packed in those seven words. I'm glad that we have the opportunity to choose each time to be wise or to be foolish. It's not always an easy choice.

I'm glad that today was just The Boy's farewell service and not the the day when we say goodbye. That's in seventeen days. Let's not speak of it. The stunningly patient and mighty fine SML and I both had tears flowing as we watched and listened to our Boy as he spoke today. We were surrounded by our daughters, a good son-in-law, the Baby/Toddler Awesome, and our parents and it seemed that things were all right with the world.

I'm just glad it's not goodbye yet.

PS - I have not yet taken The Boy's mission blog private. I will be doing that upon his departure in September. I have the names of all of you who want in on the blog and will notify you as soon as it closes. In the meantime, click here for today's update. It's a lot like this post. And if you want to keep reading that blog and you haven't let me know you want to be included, message me.

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