My world has been rocked again.
In April 2013, my world was rocked by the bombing of the Boston Marathon. I wasn't there, but I have run my fair share of marathons. I can only imagine what it was like. I've been in the craziness of the finish line. I know how those last few miles seem to last an eternity and to be turned back. I have no idea how I would have reacted but I'm sure it would have rocked my world. I did find out what races were like after that. In 2015, I ran the Vancouver, BC, marathon and my husband, who usually is by my side within seconds of me crossing the finish line had to run around a lot of barriers to get to me. They asked us to limit our checked bags to the essentials if at all. I've run local races and likewise they will pat down your bag and even look inside.
Tuesday (March 22, 2016), I woke to the news of bombings in Belgium. This follows a few months after bombings in Paris. Then the news flashed through my news feed that four of injured were LDS missionaries. My heart sank. My heart sank because I have two sons who are serving on missions. One is serving in San Fernando, CA, (near LA) and the other just landed in Macon, Georgia. In fact he hadn't even been in Georgia for 24 hours when the bombs went off across the Atlantic.
Just a side note, when I heard of the San Bernardino shootings a few weeks ago, I wasn't quite sure where that was in relationship to where Elder Michael Blanding was serving. I pulled over (I'm always in my car it seems) and did a quick google maps to find out how close his apartment and area was to the shootings. Thankfully he was some 70-80 miles away. WHEW!
My heart ached. My heart still hurts. Three of those missionaries were young people. Young people who gave up 18-24 months of their lives to teach peace, love, hope and the gospel of Jesus Christ. May God speed their recovery. The fourth missionary was a "senior" missionary. Someone who during their retirement years decides to serve. I read today that his condition has turned worse. My heart aches for those who are here in America waiting to hear news and wishing they could be by the bedside of those they care for. I don't even know what that feels like but it must hurt.
I've stood in the driveway of the Missionary Training Center (MTC) in Provo, Utah, three times now (I have one son who served in Puebla, Mexico from 2013-15). I have sobbed upon closing the door to the car and pulling away leaving that young boy. I've turned and watched them with the help of a fellow missionary, pull their two (or three) suitcases down the sidewalk and either we turn the corner or they do and they are gone! My only communication with them is a weekly email they send. They spend the next 24 months (18 if they were a female) serving, teaching and loving strangers far from home. Two of my boys have done it in a language not their own. I've cried myself to sleep numerous times just thinking about them. Yes, they are young men, but to me they will always be my little boys.
Will I see them again?
Will I hug them again?
Will I hear their voice again?
There are dangers no matter where we send our children, school, missions, vacations, etc. But for me the reality hit home with my first son. I hadn't yet hit five year remission and that bench mark is huge when fighting cancer. Survival rates climb after year five. And when I said good-bye to Jason (my first), I had a scan coming up the next week. Letting him go knowing that I might be back fighting cancer was gut wrenching. Mike (my second), was the same thing. I hadn't yet hit five years. Matt (my third), was just a little bit easier because I had hit five years, but six month before he left they found a mysterious band in my liver. And why do I do this? but I scheduled a scan to happen right after all three of them left on their missions. Thankfully all three times the doctor called and said, "See you in six months!"
But my missionary mom heart aches. She aches for all those missionaries who are hurt while away from home. There is no mom to help you; you can't even call her. I know the first time I was sick while away at school, I called my mom--probably a collect call--and she walked me through getting myself well. Then to be the mom who can't do a dang thing! You can't hold their hand, make Chicken Noodle Soup. You do exactly what all of us moms do: you give your son to the Lord and pray daily (sometimes three times a day) for their safety, peace, health and with people to teach. You live by faith.
May every child of every mother be looked after is my constant prayer and may those who wish to do evil STOP! Please stop! My my mom heart is breaking.