Thanks for your emails. They I really enjoyed them both this week. Dad, I especially liked the quote from the essay you sent.
From Elder Schafer’s Dad: Speaking of being grateful, one of the talks today at church was Bro S. He is like 91 or 92 years old. He talked about 70 years of marriage as it was his wedding anniversary yesterday. He talked about President Hinckley’s talk where he quoted Jenkin Lloyd Jones who wrote….
“There seems to be a superstition among many thousands of our young who hold hands and smooch in the drive-ins that marriage is a cottage surrounded by perpetual hollyhocks, to which a perpetually young and handsome husband comes home to a perpetually young and ravishing wife. When the hollyhocks wither and boredom and bills appear, the divorce courts are jammed.
Anyone who imagines that bliss is normal is going to waste a lot of time running around shouting that he’s been robbed. The fact is that most putts don’t drop. Most beef is tough. Most children grow up to be just ordinary people. Most successful marriages require a high degree of mutual toleration. Most jobs are more often dull than otherwise. . . .
Life is like an old-time rail journey—delays, sidetracks, smoke, dust, cinders, and jolts, interspersed only occasionally by beautiful vistas and thrilling bursts of speed. The trick is to thank the Lord for letting you have the ride.”
The train analogy reminded me of a short essay by Robert J. Hastings called “The Station”. My friend Dave sent it to me on my mission. I thought I would include it here…
“Tucked away in our subconscious is an idyllic vision. We see ourselves on a long trip that spans the continent. We are traveling by train. Out the windows we bring in the passing scene of cars on nearby highways, of children waving at a crossing, of cattle grazing on a distant hillside, of smoke pouring from a power plant, of row upon row of corn and wheat, of flatlands and valleys, of mountains and rolling hillsides, of city skylines and village halls.”
“But uppermost in our minds is the final destination. On a certain day at a certain hour we will pull into the station. Bands will be playing and flags waving. Once we get there so many wonderful dreams will come true and the pieces of our lives will fit together like a complete jigsaw puzzle. How restlessly we pace the aisles, damning the minutes for loitering—waiting, waiting, waiting for the station.”
“When we reach the station, that will be it, we cry. When I’m 18. When I buy a new 450SL Mercedes Benz. When I put the last kid through college. When I have paid off the mortgage. When I get a promotion. When I reach the age of retirement, I shall live happily ever after.”
“Sooner or later we must realize there is no station, no one place to arrive at once and for all. The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream. It constantly out distances us.”
“Relish the moment is a good motto, especially when coupled with Psalm 118:24: This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. It isn’t the burdens of today that drive men mad. It is the regrets over yesterday and the fear of tomorrow. Regret and fear are twin thieves who rob us of today.”
“So stop pacing the aisles and counting the miles. Instead, climb more mountains, eat more ice cream, go barefoot more often, swim more rivers, watch more sunsets, laugh more and cry less. Life must be lived as we go along. The station will come soon enough.”
I think that describes the way I´ve looked at life the last several years. Always waiting for the station. Waiting to graduate, waiting to leave on the mission. Waiting to get to college (which sounds like the Promised Land now, but probably not, because then I won´t even have a companion to make food for me).
I´ve been trying to enjoy the moment. Live in the moment, and listen to the Spirit, because it is providing guidance right now, and if we are always fearing the future and regretting the past, it can´t talk to us.
Thanks for the news bite about North Korean and Sony. That´s interesting. We hear nothing about news of the outside- or even in Guatemala for that matter. That´s one thing I miss. Getting to read lots of news. I would read lots of stories or watch it from different sources. I liked figuring out the bias of each source, and gleaning my own idea of what actually happened. But that will all be there when I get back.
My Christmas presents were awesome. Thank you. The pictures were my favorite. The Reese’s were the best. Thank you so much.
So, Daniel didn´t get baptized. We´re kinda disappointed. He put his own fecha (date) for the 4 of January. We´re going to baptize him this weekend. We´re having a problem with his dad now. His mom is all for it, and if Daniel got baptized, she probably would in time too. But the dad (who up until this point has ignored us completely) isn´t totally supportive, mostly because he really doesn´t understand who we are and why we´re there. So keep praying for them.
We have better prospects with the two people, Viki and Marvin. Viki should be baptized the 11th with no problem. Marvin will be harder, because we have to teach him a lot, and he wants to move very slow. But when we baptize him we complete a family, so we´ll keep working.
Oh. Guatemalan Christmas traditions? Tamales made in banana leaves (not corn husks like Mexico) Hot punch with fruit. And lots of fireworks at midnight. More money than they spend on food in a year shot up to light up the sky like daytime. When we watched it with the family M, Hermano M dijo ‘Es como una guerra!’ (He said, “It’s like a war.”)
That´s what members do. Get together and eat and watch the fireworks. Everyone else eats the same stuff and gets drunk. On the 7th of December everyone burns a pinata of the devil. These people like fire. The Catholics do this thing where they gather in a group at night throughout the month and carry a thing that looks like the ark of the covenant in Indiana Jones, and they go carol at peoples’ doors.
I don´t know if you could understand me when I mentioned it during our Skyping, but in Guatemala they have another ‘you’ form. Vos. It´s different than vosotros. They use vosotros in Spain and in the scriptures. Vos is different. From what I´ve heard, it´s only here in a few Central American countries that they use it.
There´s already the forms usted, and tu, for formal and informal address of ‘you.’ Tu people use to talk to friends, family, children, or if they´re gay. It depends entirely on the context and the relationship of the people. Usted is formal. Vos is an even more familiar form than tu, but people us it (from what I´ve seen) for siblings or friends. The leaders of the young mens talk to the jovenes (young men) in vos. And the jovenes talk to each other in vos. I don´t understand the conjugation of it. It has like a different accent than the tu form, or something like that. But that´s something interesting that´s seems unique to this part of the world.
This week has really been awesome. I was thinking today about subverting our will to God´s. How in this moment we have the chance to learn how to do so. I always thought it was weird to think of our covenants with our Father and eventually with an eternal companion ‘make us one.’ Completely selfless and submissive. But I today I felt that by putting all of our desires last, by striving to put our will and accordance with God and with the people we live, love, and work with, we are preparing for a perfected state. We can´t completely leave everything because we´re human, but one day, if we strive in this life, we will find how all of our desires are the same as our Father. To bring all of His, and our own children unto Eternal Life.
Anyway. I´ve rambled and gone many places. But I want you to know that I´ve been having a good time. We´ve been working hard. What I wrote in my letter to President is what I´ve been learning this week. Pray that we find new investigators. Preferably families, please.
Thanks for everything. I´ll keep going and try and enjoy the whole journey, instead of waiting for that station that´ll never come.
Love Elder Schafer