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Saturday, February 23, 2013

A Little Step Back into Hesstory: Calvin and Me

image: 1000awesomethings.com

Forget Christmas Eve or the day before my birthday. You can even throw out the night before I got my driver's license, the night before my first date, and the night before every first day of school in my life. Last night was, without a doubt, the  most difficult sleep I've EVER had.

Here's the combination of last night's insomnia....First, the Warden was gone to the coast with a bunch of scouts. I never sleep well when he's gone. Second, #7 was up over and over and over again with a fever. I gave her some medicine and moved her into my bed, but then she would stretch out while she slept and push me to the outer limits of the king-size bed. Last and the most obvious reason, was that envelope  that currently sits by the head of #1's bed. All I had to do was think about that envelope or ponder her future, and my heart would leap. THAT was the WORST!

image: en.wikipedia.org
I finally remembered health class in high school. I remember sitting on the floor of the wrestling gym and somebody, a special guest, coming to show us some relaxation techniques. Yup. That's the kind of high school I went to. I remember being told to take deep breaths and picture myself descending (or was that ascending) a staircase. As I breathed, I was to relax parts of my body starting at my feet and working my way up. Wow! Am I grateful for that little health class! It saved me last night, and I finally got some sleep.

So, all of this waiting has taken my mind back to waiting for my own call, and although I wasn't a Hess at the time, I'm still going to use the title above because, let's face it, Hammtory just doesn't work all that well.

My mom was just cute. Every morning she would drink hot chocolate and eat toast with peanut butter and boysenberry jam. The one thing I didn't know until the day I finished the mission paper process and had my papers mailed off to Salt Lake, was that while she ate breakfast, she read the comics. Cute, huh?

That morning, she shared this:

That's right. The day I turned in my papers, Calvin turned in his proofs of purchase for a beanie.

From that day on, Calvin and I waited together.

And waited....

 And waited....

One morning, weeks later, my mom came to me excitedly. She was carrying the Oregonian with her. "Look! Calvin got his beanie today! Wouldn't it be funny if you got your call today?!"

By this point, my response was, "Yah Mom, really funny." I was SICK of waiting and felt like it would NEVER come.

my brother and me - pre-missions
My younger brother had put in his papers very close to the same time I had, and his call came within two weeks. Here it was three, and mine still hadn't come. Ugh! I was dying!

But, sure enough, that was the day.

I don't remember there being a big hoopla. We didn't have a party. We didn't have relatives to invite. Mine was the fifth and final call to be received in that house, and mine was the least expected. My parents had saved for the four boys to serve. They hadn't expected that phone call from me my freshman year at BYU. I'm sure I totally caught them off-guard, but like #1, I finished the semester my sophomore year and returned home to earn a portion of the money needed and to wait until I turned 21.

Other calls that had arrived at my childhood home were to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Anaheim, California; Cali, Colombia; and Hartford, Connecticut. Because my dad served in the military at that age in his life (at the very tail end of WWII), he didn't get the opportunity, but all four of his boys did. I think this was something he was very proud of.

Because my younger brother had received his call to Hartford, Connecticut, as I recall, the monthly cost to send a missionary there was $380, I started stressing about the financial burden on my parents. I had earned money, but I hadn't earned all of it. My parents would up the rest. I found the list of mission costs and started praying, no, more like begging, for Lima, Peru and its $59 per month. Nightly, I petitioned the Lord.

image: todayinsci.com
When I opened the envelope the day Calvin got his beanie, I already knew what line the actual location of my mission would fall on (having so recently seen my brother's call), so to be honest, my eyes slipped for just a second, and instead of seeing "Iowa," as I had expected, or Peru, as I had hoped, there was the word "Japan." NO WAY! This must have been somebody else's letter.

After we all whooped and hollered for awhile and perused the accompanying documents, I found the bottom line. A mission to Sendai, Japan, would cost $485 per month. UGH! How could this be?! Not only was it the most expensive mission in Japan, it was one of the most expensive in the world. NO!!!

I guess you could say that at that point, my prayers changed. I begged and pleaded that we'd have enough money to cover the expenses, and that I'd be able to make it to the end financially.

A week after I entered the MTC, I received a letter from my dad--typewritten on the computer with his slanted left-handed signature and the face he drew for me so may times during church. Someday I will scan this for posterity's sake. On every letter he wrote me, the face he drew became his official stamp. I loved it!

his shop now - image: city-data.com  
In this letter, he shared that the day I boarded the plane to head to the MTC, he went to work and was astounded at what he found....The cars were lined up and filled his parking lot. My dad was an auto mechanic and that particular day was the busiest and most lucrative he'd ever had.

He shared with me that he knew from that experience that I was being watched out for, that the Lord was going to take care of us, and I was doing the right thing.

My dad has since shared with me another financial miracle that occurred later on as I served. There was no doubt that we were being cared for. Just when we'd start to forget, He'd remind us.

I look forward to #1's experience today and for our family's experiences for the next number of months. What I foresee are a number of joys and a number of trials--each of those trials leading to an increase in all of our faith.

The first of those trials may have been last night's lack of sleep, and I'm sure I'm not done with nights like that. As my daughter's off serving in the world somewhere, I'm sure there will be many nights of worry and concern for her well-being, and then there are others to follow in her footsteps in this house. They will lead to some sleepless night too, I'm guessing.

image: harrypotterfanzone.com
Yes, my hope is that there will be many nights of waiting for beanies. I finally got so I called #1's letter "The sorting hat" because that's exactly what it feels like. Funny similarity--a beanie, a sorting hat.

At this point in the game, I only have one thing to say.....Thank goodness for the time spent in the wrestling gym. That knowledge might just get me through these missionary years in the Madhouse.

image: songworm.com

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