We have a love hate relationship.
Don't get me wrong. I believe in following the prophet and all that jazz...haha I'm just kidding, that sounds sacrilegious . I do fully believe in listening to and acting on the counsel of the prophet because I have faith that it comes straight from the Lord. It's just that I feel like I have no problem theoretically supporting something, and then I am shocked to find out how difficult, but rewarding something is when it's actually put into practice. Missions have been on my mind a lot lately for some reason...who am I kidding? It's not a random thing...it's been on my mind for over half a year now.
It's just strange because I had no problem being happy for and supporting my older brother when he left for the Philippines for 2 years. Sure, I had my times when I missed him, but it was a quick fix to think "He's doing what the Lord wants him to do, and he's helping the Filipinos come to Christ." There was almost a sense of pride and happiness when I would tell my friends in high school about my brother who was serving for two years in a foreign country to share the gospel.
I feel like missions are just like any other commandment or calling in the church. You never really understand how difficult it can be until you are personally affected by it. I understand that missions are the most difficult and rewarding experience for the boys who are actually out in the field. But I think the friends and family left at home sometimes have as difficult a time of it as they do.
Having some of my best friends leave last year to go serve for two years was and still is one of the hardest experiences I've ever had. Sure, it goes up and down. Some days it's like they aren't even gone, but other days it feels like the only thing I want to do is study all day in the library with them and then go eat dinner together and hang out for the rest of the night like we used to.
I don't know why it's been so tough. It's not like I haven't experienced separation from my best friends before (i.e. Freshman year of college) but I think the fact that our only communication is in the form of written letters has something to do with it. I guess it makes sense why the church mandates that stipulation, but still...it's a challenge for the people left at home worrying and missing their missionaries.
On the other hand, I feel like I have grown so much as a person these last 7 months without my best friends here to be with me every step of the way. I have had extra time to discover new talents and interests that I have. For example, I never knew I liked to bake, but I guess I do! Having people who are dedicating their entire lives to the Lord right now is also a very inspiring experience. I feel like I want to be the best person I can possibly be so I can tell them about what I learn about the gospel and how I am growing to be better everyday. Not only do I work harder because I know that they are working super hard out there, but I think about how excited I am to show them my life here I've made for myself in Provo while they've been away.
So see? It's a love hate relationship. I really hate that my best friends are ridiculously far away from me and practically in communicado, but I love that their examples inspire me to be better every day! It's so confusing...but day by day, I am coming to terms with the fact that I don't think I'll ever really get to a point where I am completely okay with them being gone, and that's okay. I just need to live my life as best I can and look forward to when they'll be back with me again :)