Tonight, I sat looking over the mountains as three of my children and I ate dinner at McDonalds. It was a lovely evening, with the sun setting, a cool breeze, and beautiful mountains and homes around us. Who knew the McDonalds of Simi Valley could have such a lovely location and be so relaxing on a Tuesday evening? This nice setting got me to thinking.
It has been a tough few weeks. Apparently, when you send a missionary off (or when you leave? Jeri, can you confirm?) you receive opposition. I feel like we faced our fair share of challenges. Just getting them out the door is tricky because there are long lists of things to get done found in several places: in the call, in the letter from the mission home, and on the MTC website. Then we were in the middle of replacing our flooring and master bath shower. Things kept going wrong. Then our kids' car broke down and the repairs came to more than the car is worth. So we found ourselves searching for another car. Then, just as we were about to leave on our last camping vacation with the whole family, we discovered head lice. Are you scratching your head? Just reading those two words together makes me scratch my head. Or cry.
I have done a fair share of crying the past few weeks. Can opposition really come in the form of head lice???
Finally, last Wednesday, we got Jacob out the door and on the plane. (And I shed some more tears off and on for a few days about sending off our son.) We were left with the reality of cars to repair and sell and a new car to pay for, and a remodel, and camping laundry, and HEAD LICE (which makes it hard to get ahead on camping laundry since you do the same few loads of bedding every day.) In addition, we had a trip to Southern California to take Daniel and Josh to the Santa Barbara EFY.
Late Saturday night, I laid my head on Rich's shoulder and cried one more time. How could I be expected to do all this? And when do these amazing rewards come for sending off a missionary? All I felt was tired and worried about another trip.
Rich suggested we to lay there and think about some of the positive things that could come from having head lice, Connie Ten Boom style. Well, the house has been really clean. I have had more time with the little girls, as I checked their hair every day. We booked hotels for our vacation, which would mean extra fun for the little kids (free breakfast, hotel pool) and maybe some extra sleep for me (I have a very hard time sleeping when ANYTHING is going on, like when we are visiting family.)
As it turns out, our vacation has been such a treat so far. We had a super easy drive down to Southern CA. We have been able to sleep in, read, rest, play in the pool. We got to watch a movie together, the kids and I. The weather was absolutely perfect for the water park today. It just could not have been more fun. Even tonight at McDonalds, overlooking the sunset and the mountains while eating together was so nice. Then we received two letters from our missionary son. People tried to tell me, but you can't imagine how much the letters will mean until they come. Yes, the rewards come.
The moral of the story? Hang in there. The problems come and we have to endure them, but then they go away. And the time after the enduring is over is so sweet. It is full of deep appreciation for little things. Hang in there through mishaps, and challenges, and worries. Hang in there through disappointments, broken cars and even HEAD LICE. Things will get better. The vacation will come. The problems will pass. All will be well. In fact, all will be even better because of passing through the hard.
As President Gordon B. Hinckley used to say, "Oh, things will work out." They always do.