I served a mission in Milan, Italy with some of the finest young men and women this world has to offer. I loved my mission and will attest that it was the best decision I have ever made. I always thought that the people I served with would remain my closest confidants after the mission. But tonight, I realized that like all things, the past remains in the past and you move on. This is unfortunate but it's the truth.
I went to a party where I knew the former missionaries, some married, some not, some in school, some working and really the initial 2 minutes were phenomenal! Hugging, laughing, reminiscing and then after a while, we ran out of things to say. The questions started like "so, what are you doing now?" "what's um, what's new?" "do you hear from ... anymore?" and then usually the conversation faded off into nothing and we moved on to the next person to repeat the sad cycle.
What can we do? We shared some of the most difficult, most excruciating, most rewarding and incredible experiences that people can share and then one day it's all over and we are expected to return to the person we were before. To life the life we lived before and eventually stop talking about our missions except in very specific moments. We are called weird and are expected to become "normal" again. Its rough really and for me I felt torn in half. I wanted to stay who I had become yet feared to be cut off and classified as someone "stuck in the mission". So now, here I am. A year and 3 months later and I suppose I'm normal, maye not, but definitely still in a very fluid stage of "becoming". That's what I call it anyway. I guess that's just how things go. I hope that those who were there tonight are doing well and adjusting. They seem to be. And while yeah, we never are going to be close like before, I'd like to think that in the future we can still count on each other. If you can't tell, I miss the mission like crazy these days. It's always worse in the summer. I would give anything to go back :(