Sunday, December 28, 2014

Letting Go and Looking Up

by Guest Blogger Diane Jackson Workman

Letting go and looking up…. I’ve had a lot of reflection time today. My daughter came home in April from serving her full time mission in Costa Rica. My son is currently serving in the Oregon Eugene Mission and my third child is a senior in high school and will be starting his mission papers after the winter break. My baby and fourth child is 16 and is planning to serve a mission also. I am reflecting on these angles of the “missionary mom”.

I wished my daughter home so many times during her mission. It was a lot easier when she was out on her mission. Doesn't that sound insane? Seriously!! I remember someone telling me that and I was thinking, "you must have had a difficult child cuz I cannot wait!" Well, It IS so much easier when they are on their missions… Trust me on that - I also think they are less expensive.

Yesterday, we got to see and talk to my son on his mission for Christmas. He will hit his one year mark on Jan 15. He has just over a year more to go. Well, let me just tell you what I looked at on the TV screen... my little boy is gone. He is a man. Very mature, very spiritual and has such a testimony of every aspect of the gospel. He loves our Savior so much and has learned to look up to Him and his Father in Heaven. I was stunned numb when talking to him but I couldn’t quite figure out why… what was it that was so strange? We email back and forth every single Monday and I suppose the change was subtle. I hadn't noticed how much he has changed. In his weekly emails, he is still my funny little boy. This man I saw on Christmas was not the same. He is everything that I could hope and pray that my son would one day become. I was crying because he was a stranger. I cried because The Spirit testified to me how much he has grown. I cried because I missed him and I cried because he cried.

Here at home I adjust to our missionary not being here. I stopped looking for the missing person when we gather in the car to go somewhere or setting the extra plate at dinner. I have realized that we truly give our babies roots to grow and wings to fly. The most difficult thing is letting go and then watching them go.

I compare this mission adventure to teaching my children to ride their bikes. I remember with the first one, I bought all of the "guards". Shin guards, knee guards, elbow and wrist guards. I put her in a helmet and ran next to her when she was 8. (my last one learned to ride a two wheeler without training wheels by 3) I held onto that bar on the back of that bike and didn't want to let go because I knew she was going to fall down. That is what happens next... they have to learn how to ride the bike, balance, turn smoothly, look up and avoid the pit falls. They fall. Then, you pick them up, love them, put them back on the bike and run along some more... all the while encouraging them to keep pedaling, keep balancing, look up, avoid potential problems and hope they don't fall. (knowing they probably will again and again). We hope that they learned that turning too quick or not pedaling or looking down will cause them to fall again. We learn and hope they learn that the lesson is in the falls. I remember taking off the training wheels and doing it all again. Before you know it, they really get that hang of it on their own. They figure it out. I can't balance the bicycle for them or pedal the pedals... they have to do it... all I can do is run along the side until I can’t keep up any longer, encourage them, pick them up and love them. Then I wait in the driveway for them to return home, looking up, with a smile on their face.
It's so much like their missions. I have done all I can to protect my missionary and my sons getting ready to go. I’ve bought all of the guards. I have told him how to balance and showed him. I have stressed the importance of looking up and he has looked up to his older siblings to see how to do it, but now he has to do it by himself. He is going to fall. He will have a hard day or two. I will encourage some more, love him and tell him to get back on the bike. I realize the hardest part is letting go. I can even recall them telling me they are ready for me to let go. They are on their bikes ready to pedal. I have taught him what and how to do it. Now, I have to let him enjoy the ride, experience the adventure, put himself back on the bicycle and learn to look up. Pretty soon he will be around the corner heading back home. I will be in the yard waiting for him and it will seem he just went around the block.

My children’s mission journeys are so beautiful! There is so much joy in the lesson for both mom and the missionary. My daughter is moving onto different roads. College, marriage, family and finances. My missionary has learned the importance of looking up, balance and enjoying the ride. My other two sons are depending on their training wheels - ready for the adventure. I know that Heavenly Father calms my troubled heart. He comforts me constantly and I know that He is SO very mindful of our missionaries. He is guarding them. We need only to let go and look up.

About Diane:
Born and raised in Sandy, Utah. I've been a member my whole life. I married a less active, handsome member in the temple - my missionary moment, almost 25 years ago. I'll be 47 this next year! Holy cow that seems so old. I've wrecked on my own bike. A lot. I've had stitches and have scars but I always got back on, smiled and looked up.

1 comment: