Items of note for Wednesday, Oct. 31:
1. Happy Halloween. I didn't dress up, but I did wear a peachy-orange shirt! That is about all I can offer for days I teach. I do plan on eating chili and eating candy tonight. Mark is coming down and we are going to watch semi-scary movies with Amelia and Erin. (Semi-scary means not really scary at all, but intense. Think Charade.) Erin wants to watch Watcher in the Woods, but I have never been a fan of that movie. It's too creepy for me!
2. I won my first eBay bid today on a clothing item. We will see how it all comes out. I opened a PayPal account and finally feel as though I have entered the world of eBay. I have frequently ordered books of Half.com, which is affiliated with eBay, but I have never placed a bid on eBay. I guess I matured a bit in Internet terms.
3. Six years ago today I received my mission call. My hometown is of the variety that calls the family early in the morning to let them know about the big white envelope from Salt Lake City. My parents got the call and went and got it for me. They came and woke me up with the white envelope in their hands. We had expected to open it later in the day when the family was going to come over. But, my family couldn't wait once the envelope arrived.
So, I fatefully opened the envelope and read my call. I skipped ahead a little, I couldn't help it, and read Bulgaria. I was completely surprised. I had studied French in college for three years and could read, write, and speak fairly well. I thought for sure I would go French speaking. But, as per usual, God knows so much more than I do about what is good for me. With all the hind sight bias I now have, I couldn't have chosen a better fit for me. The people of Bulgaria and my fellow missionaries were exactly what I needed. I worked hard to love the people, and I do. One of the things that makes God's foreknowledge so great is that we can't see the resplendent good that will be the eventual outcome, but He can. I had no idea how my life would be changed because I accepted that call.
I never had a mission scripture, my ward didn't do anything like that. But, I seemed to frequently gravitate towards Matt. 28:20 which reads, " ... and , lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world." I always figured that if God could be with me in Bulgaria, then he could be with me anywhere. I have been reflecting on that verse this week. If I could tell someone a part of what I learned in Bulgaria and after it would be that God really is with us always. I think we could all acknowledge that we are involved in situations that have no certain outcome; we have no idea how it will all conclude or how that will affect us for the rest of our lives. On one hand it is exciting to know that to some extent the daily doings of our lives really can have lasting results, but it is also terrifying that there is such a potential for pain or joy that is conditional on what we do today. It is hard to work through such periods, especially when you wonder when it will end. I guess there is some comfort to know that there will always be times of uncertainty. But the greater comfort is that God wants our happiness more than we do and in the end we will be happy, really happy. I can with confidence look back at my mission and see how although there were incredibly hard, painful days, I experienced happiness.
As I work through my own expectations of happiness, my thoughts today end on the following: we often want happiness on our terms, although we often shortchange ourselves in terms of the happiness we could experience if we would but submit ourselves to the process that brings God's happiness.