A couple of months ago, Bruce (our 20-year old son who is serving a mission for our church in Taiwan), wrote home asking what our thoughts were on his release date. Because he left on his mission on January 5, his group of missionaries had to choose whether to come home on December 18 or January 28. We're only talking six weeks here, but those six weeks were pretty loaded.

He'd either be home for Christmas or he wouldn't.
He'd be back in time for winter semester or he wouldn't.
He'd be in Taiwan for only one Chinese New Year or he'd be there for two.

His Dad and I, who both served missions, gave him our thoughts. Coming home in December had some practical and emotional advantages, but we didn't want him to have any regrets. If he stayed, he'd get home around the same time as his grandparents (who are serving in Canada) and they'd be able to attend each other's homecomings. If he stayed, he wouldn't feel so rushed making his educational decisions. If he stayed, he'd meet so many more people and we'd have six more of the letters that thrill and inspire us each week.

Of course, we'd love to have him home for Christmas and getting back into school right away would be a good thing, as well.

Ultimately, we left it up to him to pray about it and make his decision and then we began praying that he'd make the decision that would be best for him in his life.

He decided to come home for Christmas and get back into school. But after praying about that choice, he felt uneasy. So for several weeks, he reconsidered and then decided to stay. This time he felt it was right, and although he was the only one of his group who made the same decision, he chose to stay until the end of January.

He told us in his letter this week and even though it's what I'd privately thought he'd choose, and I thought it was a good choice, it bowled me over. When it became a reality instead of a possibility, I felt a pain in my heart and I cried. The kids asked what was wrong and when I told them, they chastised me. "But Mom, that's what you thought he should do. Why are you crying about it?"

The answer is simple. I miss him. And even if it is the right thing, it's still a hard thing. The missing has felt a little sharper the last few days. The tears I've shed are only partly from allergies. And yesterday, in spite of Savannah teasing me, I listened to "Murder in the City" by the Avett Brothers. Twice. Because Bruce included the last line of the song in his first letter home.

And now I need a tissue.


Peter Waite said...

Great post. I remember making that same decision on coming home from my mission. I ended up staying almost a month longer. And now I need to find out more about this band, love the song.

Torrie said...

When to come home is always a difficult decision. I had a similar decision, but my mission president actually allowed me to come home right in the middle of a transfer, which ended up being perfect for me.

I know it's super hard though. You've got a great son--and I'm sure there's a reason why he's staying.

But you already know that :)

How did the half marathon go? I looked for you, but with 7,000 people there...yeah...

Mindy said...

I love the Avett Brothers.

Leslie said...

he did make the right decision. good for bruce.

Lauren Mackesy said...

God bless him! You must be so proud!

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed the song very much. Bruce has always approached his decisions with prayer, so we are confident he is doing the right thing.
We are not planning to extend, we plan to be home on schedule because we don't want you to shed any more tears. Sooo, Dad says, quit bawling like a baby and face like a man!!
Good job on the race. LMH