I’ve been so blessed to have been raised in a ward so full of love that they’ve been a family to me from the time I joined the Church. I got into New London late on Saturday night, and was exhausted after a long day on the train. What kept me from having a complete break-down in Penn Station was 1) knowing that in a few hours I’d see my family, 2) the four ‘angels’ who helped me find my way in the chaos of the station, and 3) knowing that I’d be able to see everyone in my ward come morning.
The moment I walked in the door and headed to the chapel, I was greeted by friends with warm smiles and big hugs. It made my heart nearly burst to see all these familiar faces whom I’ve missed so much. I don’t think I’ve hugged so many people in a three-hour time span. Some were gentle embraces, while others practically tackled me with bear hugs (ahem, you know who you are). My mind kept returning to the thought that the Cromwell ward is my third home, filled with little (and big!) brothers and sisters, moms, dads, and grandparents. I’m home. I’m home. That’s what kept going through my mind. These people have taught me so much over the years, much more than they probably realize. They’ve taught me not only about the Gospel, but how to handle tough things, how to nurture and care for others, how to raise of family in the Church, and definitely how to love.
We’ve such a melee of people in the ward, and I love it. You have the young couples, the big families, the single people, the youth, the older couples… I’ve learned something from each person. It was so great to return and talk with as many people as I could and get caught up on the going-ons from the past few months. It was like I hadn’t been away but for a few weeks.
I was excited to share the news that my papers are going in on April 1st – only 27 days! – and how anxious I was to share my call with them as soon as I found out. My old seminary teacher caught me after Sunday school, and I was so excited to share the news with her, as she taught me a lot about the gospel in high school. Later, in Relief Society, she had me share the news with all the sisters, and it was so heart-warming to have these women I’ve looked up to and admired throughout my life tell me that they were proud of me and be so encouraging.
I sat through Relief Society thinking about all the things these sisters have taught me since I was a little (ish) girl, and I realized that half the reason that I’m going to serve is because of these things they’ve taught me, and the example they’ve set for me over the years. I couldn’t feasibly list them all here even if I tried. Their support, approval, and encouragement means so much to me, and being home and having them congratulate me reaffirmed to me my decision to serve. I want others to have a community like this where love abounds in amazing ways.
I was also really excited to share the news with my girls. They’re a few years younger than me, but I’ve always thought of them as my little sisters. They were excited
I am so thankful that I was able to spend a Sunday at ‘home’ – it was just what the doctor ordered! They really are a family to me, and I am so grateful to them for their love and their examples even now that I’ve “grown up” (except not really) and moved away. Cromwell will always be one of my dear homes.