I love being a missionary. It is the hardest thing I have done up to this point in my life and it is worth more than any other experience I could be having at this time. This was a hard week. Lot's of reminders of home, of people who have passed away, of past trials, and lots of things I would like to forget right now.
But as I am human I get to remember, and I get to learn how to work with and through each struggle. And so do you! This week I'd like to share a few things I do to help--or that make it worse:
At night, I have a hard time turning my brain off--who did we forget to call, we didn't get a ride for someone to church, what day are we going to see Dolly, praying for family, I could've done better at listening today, why couldn't I remember how to get to the apartments we wasted 2 miles looking for it. There's not a one-size-fits-all answer but a few things I do relieve that stress 1) writing in my journal. I'm able to write what I think, get all my opinions and feelings on paper, then think a little more rationally about any given situation. I can put down the things that I learned or were most meaningful to me and not worry if I'm going to forget it, 2) I talk. Even if I don't want to it relieves a lot of stress and other people often have a more accurate perspective. 3) I tell myself I can't do anything about it right now. It can wait.
As a missionary you are always in company. Sometimes good...sometimes not so good. But always in someone's company. And always in your companion's. All day every day is a lot of time with the same person. It's more time than a married couple spends together! And you don't get to run away if you have differences. You have to work them out. This can be a sour experience, though often it is great way to learn to work through things rather than sweeping them under the rug for the the bugs and mold to build up until you absolutely cannot stand it and have to clean house. It is different with every companion but work through you must. Things that help the most 1) honesty, and honestly listening. When you sincerely understand one another and are willing to hear the other out it does not matter so much who is right or wrong or bad or worse. It's about addressing the issue, saying it's there, and even if you can't solve it right away you know the other person cares about you. 2) Humor is the best policy (and you thought honesty was!). Being able to laugh at yourself and the other with each other and at your mistakes is the best medicine. Be happy and have a good time. Make memories, build each other up, and cherish those moments you will laugh at days, months and even years later.
I love y'all! Life is tough. But what champion has ever said I wish it was easier? No, it was hard and it was worth it.
aka Joseph's South Carolinian "friend"