Thursday, September 30, 2010

Will I wait for you?*

Warning - we're going to get personal, and I don't really do that - so I'm a bit apprehensive to say the least. I'm not one to share my feelings a lot and you may (or may not) have noticed my weak attempts to be better about, here we go. P.S. - also sorry, but the title is from a lesser known little film/musical that never hit the big screen.

Last night, instead of playing Frisbee (because there was a monsoon outside) I met up with a few of the Frisbee people and we played games. It was pretty fun. After the games were over we started to talk. Somehow the topic got to missions, for anyone who isn't familiar with Latter Day Saints (i.e. Mormons) most young men go on a two year mission for the church. They could be sent to Atlanta Georgia, Canada, Brazil, France, Germany, or in the case of my story, a little island La Reunion, just east of Madagascar. They pretty much give up everything. They put school (college - not high school, just in case you weren't sure) on hold for those two years, they leave their family, their possessions, their girlfriends all behind. They cannot call, except to their families are certain holidays (Christmas, Mother's day, etc.), they get one day a week where they can write (call P-day or preparation day). Most of their time is dedicated to doing missionary work, tracting door to door, teaching investigators about the church, working with new members - and even some of the lifelong members, studying the scriptures, etc. I think you get the idea. It's a busy, jammed packed two years. Many (I have no statistics on this) missionaries have girls "waiting" for them. (Oh and there are sister missionaries too, they serve for 18 months, and some of them have beaus awaiting their return). There, there is your background.

Well, we had an interesting mix last night, we had one guy who just returned home from his mission about three months ago, we had a guy getting ready to turn in his mission papers, his girlfriend who is looking to serve a mission too, and then me - a waiter. The newly returned guy started to tell us about his experience with a long term girlfriend who said she would wait...but didn't. I understand that he would be upset about this - but I also couldn't deny that I know what it feels like on the other end of things. Waiting is no easy thing...waiting for two years is even harder. When the boys happened to find some common ground by saying that girls were of the devil or something like that, I spoke up.

None of them know I have a missionary (cause like I said, I don't really get personal) but I spoke up for most girls who wait. There are exceptions to every rule, there are the girls who have three missionaries at once and get married in 6-months time, breaking all their hearts in the process; but there are those girls who wait, or try their hardest to wait, through all of it. I told them that in the girls defense they are waiting for two years. The guy goes on his mission and his life is filled with all these new things, a new life, new responsibility, sometimes a new language, they are immersed into this new life, and while they will suffer from homesickness, it is not the same as waiting for someone to return. The girl is still living life the same way she was before, but now she doesn't have her boyfriend. She is trying to go through the same life as though her boyfriend were still there, but he's not. His letters go from weekly to every few weeks, to sometimes months. Letters get lost or held up, or returned. People feel the need to share their stories of them and their missionary, or them and their girl waiting, that didn't turn out. Why in the world they would tell someone who is in the process of waiting (or being waited for) is beyond me. It's like telling stories about miscarriages to a pregnant women. Just let her be happy, leave the sad stories that may never happen to her out of it.

Lauren, the other girl last night, mentioned that some girls get scared and that's why they don't wait. I think it's the loneliness more than anything, it's the need to have someone there who can validate them as a person of worth (not that I blame the missionaries in any way, they are doing exactly what they should be doing), it's the need to have someone to listen to you, to laugh with you, to see you. It is in our nature to fight loneliness, to try to find someone who makes you happy just for being in your life.

I haven't been the best at waiting. I have told Bryan off in a letter or two (not a dear john letter), I have dated other people (even though he told me to I still feel bad about it), I have been frustrated with him for not writing more often, I have thought about dear johning him, about giving up because it was just too hard. And this was just the first 15 months. I still have 9 more to go.

I spent everyday with Bryan from the time we started dating until the day before he left on his mission. We weren't always together in person, but we talked online for hours when we were far apart. From Thursday nights when he had a night class, to when I was in Utah for my sister's wedding, or when he was in Roanoke after school finished for the year. When he first went out there I got an e-mail and a letter each week (no phone calls, no IMing). Now I consider myself lucky to get a letter once a month. I am constantly torn between wanting him to write me every week and wanting him to focus on his mission. On top of that, I am still here in Richmond. Still meeting new people all the time, still going on dates, still fighting loneliness. Waiting is probably one of the biggest gambles of my life. He could come home and find he doesn't want to be with me, or I with him - it's a scary thought to think that two years of waiting could end up amounting to nothing.

Of course, I didn't say all of this last night, I got cut off by someone's remark. Maybe that's why I feel the need to say it now, to say it publicly. I think people should know that waiting two years seems pretty easy when you say it, but when you are living it that's a great expectation to put on someone. I'm not saying one side has it harder than the other, I just wanted people to understand my side.


Ashley said...

Hmmm - here are two positive stories for you. I think you can wait. I think waiting patiently brings lots of rewards :)

1st story - a roommate I had in college waited 2 years. People told her there was no way she could do it - so just to spite them, she did not go on one date with any other guy for 2 whole years. They are now happily married :)

2nd story - that girl's best friend was also waiting for a missionary. While he was gone, she dated like crazy and probably kissed 50 guys (SICK!). When her missionary got home, she married him.

It works! I believe in you! Happy Thursday!

G Sauce said...

Saturday's Warrior...why wolly kesler you ought to be ashamed of yourself.

I am glad you spoke up.

Martha said...

Saturday's Warrior.

Lildonbro said...

Thanks Ashley!

Lildonbro said...

Lacee...thanks, I guess :P

Lildonbro said...

I deleted your comment Lacee - at YOUR request (don't want people to think I'm rude and delete people's comments).

Joanna & Ben said...

reminds me of Persuasion...sort of, just not as long, there's a happy thought

The Ottley's said...

I remember when Russell left. I was devastated. I remember the weekly letters, emails, getting a three way phone call on holidays. I know exactly how you feel. When i met Chadd it was just for fun. Famous last words. When Russell came home and flew down from Canada it was surreal. But it wasn't the same. But that's my story, hours can look so different.
Love you and miss you like crazy!


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