I had a regular work week getting my desk as cleared as possible to prepare for being away a week. Benjamin spent the week shopping, saying good-byes, and packing. As the Sacramento Temple was closed, he and his temple baptism buddies went to Oakland Wednesday.
He and I went to the Oakland Temple Saturday
On the way home, we noticed a jingling sound that I recognized as the warning sound of worn brakes. How long had that been going on? We didn’t know. That certainly made me a little nervous. On the way home, we also stopped at In N Out, but as we were eating on the road, we didn’t order secret menu - traditional is less messy.
Last Sunday, we had quite a stirring Testimony Meeting. In a rare turn of events, I was first. David bore a tearful, heartfelt testimony including a recitation of the last verse of our national anthem. Of course, Benjamin stood up and barely managed without crying. One of the most striking testimonies to me was Liz Richards. Liz lost her car keys, but happily had a spare which unhappily got lost at Cal Expo. The expensive remote keys that cost a couple of hundred to replace. She did not feel that she could cough up that kind of mone. Liz also recently went through a horrible ordeal dealing with terrible roommates. She has had a hard time having any kind of Christ-like attitude towards those people. Finally, she began working towards forgiveness. The day after she was able to pray for them, while she was doing laundry, she was prompted to look in a certain box. There was her first car key! The Lord knew where they were all along, of course, and when she was willing and able to live as He has directed and forgive her enemies, He rewarded her with inspiration.
That evening we had Debi’s birthday/ Benjamin’s good-bye dinner at Ruth’s. Waffle bar, lots of fun - until I said it was time to go. Then his sisters tearfully bid Benjamin good-bye. It was especially hard for Debi with whom he has shared a special bond since he was born.
Monday morning Joseph bid Benjamin good-bye and pedaled off to work. I took Goldie in to have those brakes looked at, and naturally, replaced. Delayed our departure a couple of hours or so, but gave us some peace of mind and got rid of that annoying jingling. Finally, it was time to go. Benjamin said to Andrew and off we went.
A pleasant enough, uneventful drive. Nevada seems like miles and miles of nothing until you get to the Salt Flats in Utah. Then Nevada looks pretty good. I am sorry Benjamin couldn’t really see the Salt Flats as it was dark by then. At last, we arrived, warmly, kindly welcomed by Kent and Melanie Larson.
Tuesday, Kent and Melanie, Benjamin and I went to Salt Lake City.
Wednesday was report to the MTC day. After
I noticed his sunglasses on the dash. Did he leave them intentionally or accidentally??? I hope I did the right thing. I took the sunglasses to the guard post and asked the guards if missionaries are allowed sunglasses. They said yes and that they would get them to him. Now I wonder.
1. Did he get the sunglasses?
2. Did he want them? If not, he can start his pile of things to ship home before he leaves.
I decided to go to the Prove temple. I know the missionaries attend regularly and it felt like a way to connect with him, as well as it's always good to go to the temple. It was rather bitter-sweet. For the last two months or so, I think there might have been one time that I went to the temple without Benjamin.
I hardly saw the MTC at all - whether dropping Benjamin off or driving by or from the hill. That place is a fortress! a secret hide-out! That is to say, there is a fence around it and you cannot just walk in. As long as the missionaries don't feel like it's a prison, but rather a refuge.
The MTC website says "The purpose of the MTC is to provide an atmosphere of peace, love, trust, confidence, and respect in which missionaries can prepare for missionary service." Sounds good! I hope it feels that way to him! I think it might be pretty strange and almost overwhelming at first, but soon it will be good, maybe great.
"Each Wednesday several hundred missionaries enter the Provo MTC. The eager missionaries enter an exciting world of learning."
on the flip side - "Perhaps it’s the sacrifice evidenced in tear-stained faces as mothers and fathers give up the very best they have to offer—their sons and daughters. " -from a New Era article about the MTC
I did not use up all of Teresa's tissues. Hardly any. I did use a couple of temple tissues in the Provo temple.
Eventually I returned to the welcoming home of my friends. Alone, but not alone.