Every day this week has made it more real that I go home in the very near future and mostly I feel like everything is going too fast and I can't take it all in but I guess I've been taking it in for the past 17 months so I don't really know what kind of different taking-it-in-capacities I expect for this last week.
Whew. That sentence was way too long but probably reflects how I've been talking this past week because I have too many thoughts that I attempt to connect with too many conjunctions so I can avoid taking a breath.
I feel a little bit like a superhero about to lose her super powers--a tad relieved that I can pass on the responsibility to save the world that I've been carrying around but also a little sentimental about the whole not-being-a-superhero thing anymore. But we shan’t dwell on that because I was still a superhero this week, doing superhero activities like protecting cherry trees from birds for less-active women, painting an apartment for a stellar member, going door-to-door (which admittedly we haven't done a lot of on our missions--we are more street contacting folk), singing songs with the sweetest of sweet 88-year old women, picking wild fruit for orphans (okay, actually it was for us), and going on our last exchanges. Of course those are just a few of the things that heroes do, which normal people can actually do too.
I will miss the automatic trust people have in you as a missionary, just because they know you represent Christ.
Just thought I'd throw that random thought out there.
We take a train to Berlin on Friday and are staying with some other sisters there until Monday, when we go to the mission office. We are planning on sending short emails on Saturday, so if you want to write me any last things, do it before Saturday J.
Life Lesson #1. Good things keep coming.
I no longer believe that "nothing gold can stay." There are just lots of different shades of gold that come in and out of life, but one thing is certain, good things keep coming. There is not a limited supply of good times or of joy.
Two of my favorite articles are Elder Holland's "Remember Lot's Wife" (http://speeches.byu.edu/?act=viewitem&id=1819) and Caitlin A. Rush's "Good Things Keep on Coming” (https://www.lds.org/ensign/2012/10/good-things-keep-on-coming?lang=eng).
Sometimes I feel exactly like Caitlin Rush described it: "I have always had a hard time facing change and am hesitant to let go of good things. I miss the past even while it is still the present, desperate to enjoy fully moments in which I consciously and determinedly live. I know when I have a good thing, and I want to hold on and never let go... Usually when I realize how good things are, I instantly begin thinking of how everything is fleeting, that it will eventually be lost to time or circumstance."
But then she realized something marvelous, just like I have, that we can enjoy what we have in the moment and let it go when it comes to move on to other good things. Elder Holland counseled us to not let our attachment to the past outweigh our confidence to the future. He said, "Faith is for the future. Faith builds on the past but never longs to stay there. Faith trusts that God has great things in store for each of us and that Christ truly is the 'high priest of good things to come.'"
The knowledge that good keeps coming has brought me great comfort every time I've had to leave something good behind. It's simply marvelous. I look forward to the good to come this week and the weeks after that.
You'll get one more email from me which will probably be filled with more sentimental, nostalgic feelings with a mix of gratitude and excitement and all sorts of other emotions. It might be even shorter than this email though.
It's just weird at the end.
That's all I got.
Love you all.
--Sister Claire Michelle Woodward