Since last Wednesday our little family has been in Utah. Currently, Doug is with his brothers and parents at a Boeing Utah facility tour, Ryker is still sleeping, and I can hear the pitter patter of Kyleena feet as she pesters grandpa upstairs.
I miss this. Being here makes me so homesick I can't stand it. I keep trying to remind myself why we moved and why we wanted to stay in Alabama a bit longer, but it's like trying to remind myself I don't need oxygen yet after diving into the deep end of the pool. As much as my mind knows I'll be just fine for a little longer, my body keeps desperately swimming up for air.
Utah is my version of air. It is not always appreciated. It is sometimes stinky or muggy. But I need it nonetheless and I crave it when deprived.
Being accompanied by Doug's family during the festivities surrounding Doug's sister Karianne's wedding was a breath of fresh air. I'm gaining more of an understanding as to why big family events are such important milestones, and why we should definitely be in attendance. Memories are formed and bonds are made and friendships are strengthened in ways that can only be accessed by shared experiences. The same can be said for the experience of sending Doug's brother Nate off on his mission this week.
For me, personally, this has been a time of serious reflection and gratitude. I could not help during that sealing but to picture myself on my wedding day. I remember sitting in the Celestial room prior to the ordinance and talking to Douglas. I don't remember much of what was said, (I do recall that he informed me of a serious shaving mishap he had had that morning) but I remember how blessed I felt as I looked over at the man who was to become my eternal companion in just minutes. I remember walking into the sealing room hand in hand with him, and seeing our families beaming at us. The words of the sealer were somewhat of a blur, and I was so grateful they were recorded for me by a family friend of Doug's. However, I do recall being told to make each other happy... and I hope I have done that for him so far, because I know he has done that for me.
In a strange, retrogressive pattern, the following two events pushed my thoughts further and further into the past. As we prepared to send Nate off on his mission, I flashed back to my twenty-first year and all that it entailed. I remember my farewell talk and being in my room with my best friend, finishing up packing and trying fruitlessly to sleep the night before my mission. I recall sitting through the MTC welcome meeting with my family before we said our tearful goodbyes. Shortly thereafter I met my first companion in line for something. The MTC is mostly clear in my mind. One experience was returned to me with exceptional clarity as I pondered the missionary service into which Nathan was about to enter. I remembered the testimony meeting we had with our new district upon our arrival to the MTC. That night as missionaries from different places and backgrounds shared their testimonies, and as I prepared to share mine as well, I was literally filled with the Spirit in a remarkable way. From my head to the tips of my toes I received a witness of the work I was about to perform.
Scooting even further into my past... Last night I was invited to participate in the planning of our high school reunion. Sitting there in a basement with my high school friends, I was drawn, intriguingly, not to my high school life but to the life just following it, the one these people had missed out on.
Thinking over the past ten years, I am grateful for all of it. Some of the turns I took were not on the map I had made for myself, but I'm grateful I took them. Many things went according to plan but on a completely different schedule than I had predicted. As we lay in bed together last night, I told Doug that perhaps I was too attached to my past experiences to be able to function in Utah over a long period of time. Upon waking this morning I see things a little differently. If I can record my thoughts, learn and grow from them, and use them pushing forward, then this connection to my personal heritage could be a blessing. I certainly feel blessed right now.
And after all, how can anyone learn from a past that's forgotten?