I remember August 6, 2014 very clearly. Feelings of excitement and fear twisted together, and I wondered what exactly I was getting myself into. My family and I pulled into the MTC, my heart beating loudly and my eyes starting to fill with tears. I was so excited to serve the Lord as a full-time missionary, but the unknown was scary. That day was the beginning of some of the most difficult and rewarding times of my life.
I never could've imagined things turning out quite the way they did. I never would've imagined getting hurt and coming home. I never would've imagined myself in physical therapy, sitting on a stationary bike with tears in my eyes, having flashbacks of that car hitting me and my bike slipping under me.
I am still healing. In pictures and even in person I look fine, and I am making progress, but I am still healing. I still have constant discomfort and pain, and we are learning to be patient and are trying new things. My doctor told me that I will be treated just like someone with fibromyalgia since my muscle pain is chronic and spreading to other areas. She also told me that having pain for so long can cause my brain to get into a habit of thinking that I'm in pain, even if my muscles aren't as tight as they were before.
I am still learning why everything happened. This past year has been hard, and it has stretched me in ways I never thought I could be stretched. I get anxious when I walk by a busy street, worried one of the cars will hit me. I get anxious when I see bikers or think about biking. I have been meeting with a therapist to work through those things and also with my situational depression. One thing that helps is when I see lots of cars coming by or get on a stationary bike, I take a deep breath and remind myself that I'm safe. And doing that seems to help emotionally too, reminding myself that I'm ok, that everything is ok.
Things have been hard, but whenever I have let the Lord in, He has been there. And I am so grateful for my friends and family that have been there for me through all of this. One of my dear missionary friends, who entered the MTC the same day to me, sent me this in her email this past Monday:
" I know it is rough to be at the year mark and be there not here, and let me tell ya I miss you, but I know you are where you are supposed to be. I am going to wear your clothes on our year mark, so you can count on the fact that you are still marching into the field over here....besides I am gonna need some Zuster Thomas fire!...Have a super happy year mark! You are still in this group and a missionary (lifelong calling)! eat some stampoot and pannenkoeken and know that you are loved and your influence continues to touch my life and the lives of those here and at home...you are a double missionary- two places at once! Love you dearly!"
|The Sister Missionaries in my MTC group (Sister Robbins, who wrote the email, is the one on my right)|
Today is August 6, and this morning I woke up and felt at peace--at peace with the fact that healing will take time, that my life isn't what I thought it would be.
Yesterday I started working in the temple. It was wonderful--even though it was a bit too much to do with the pain--I'm going to do half shifts for a little bit until I'm able to work a full shift. This past week I also started working in the Family History Center at my Church. I am learning ways to serve the Lord in different ways, and I am grateful for His hand in my life.
Today is August 6, and that's ok.