I've been feeling a bit like Rip Van Winkle lately. Am I awakening from a three year dream? Or is this a new dream and I'll soon awaken in my bed at the Mission Home?
I'm quite certain it is the former. This week we were visited by three "Sister Missionaries" who have all returned home. They were on a road trip from Utah and Idaho to visit the Pacific Northwest and we hosted them for three of their four days.
And at the same time, Elder Jonathan Lau completed his mission and returned to his parents in Edmonds, Washington -- about 40 minutes from our farm in Redmond.
Yesterday the Lau family invited all of us to a nice lunch at their home overlooking the Puget Sound. As we ate a delicious meal, all four of our missionaries sat across the table. Was this lunch time at a Zone Conference? Whose children are you? Why are there tears in my eyes?
I might know these four young adults better than their parents do. This is a bold, even awkward, statement. But I have spent hours and hours with each -- in personal interviews where we explored the essence of life with its trials, pains, experiences and joys. I know of their immense strengths and abilities -- and also of their weaknesses and insecurities. There were no barriers - I saw it all and I know them. And as I sat there at lunch I had a deep parental love for each of these fine young adults.
Long ago we played a children's game where the one who is "it" shouts out, "Whose Children Are You?" And everyone else responds, "The Man in the Moon! The Man in the Moon!"
At the end of our lunch, we said our good-bys and gave hugs to each of our four missionaries. I'm finding that these hugs are special hugs. They feel like the hugs I give my adult children as I leave them. They are a bit longer, tighter and huggier than a normal hug. They are a two-way "I love you and I mean it" hug.
Whose children are you?