In March I watch the brief, bleak winter days grow into undying summer solstices. I fill out a bracket and cheer for underdogs. I celebrate my father’s birthday. I lose an hour of sleep for the sake of sunny nights.
Nine years ago this March I joined my family as we boarded a plane bound for the United States. My family was sad to leave our beautiful home in Brazil, but when I look back on that day, I'm just happy that we were all together.
With my family here in Utah for spring break, I savor the time I spend staving off the inevitable apart-ness that looms as I plan to leave on a mission.
Last March our family was only partially together. My older sisters being victims of BYU’s vacation-less winter semester, my parents, Jake, Ellen and I set out for our spring break vacation in D.C. as a family of five.
We drove together through the thawing forests and hazy clouds of the East, on highways blasted out of the brown hillsides. Hours passed under an empty grey sky. But after a day in the car, we arrived at a place we once called home—beautiful Virginia, with no billboards to clog the humid blue air and enough trees to satisfy any Midwesterner.
But far better than the beautiful scenery and peace I find in that first state are the friends I have there. By a strange twist of fate I’ll always be grateful for, I ended up moving into the same BYU dorm hallway as a childhood friend from Virginia. We had no memories of our time together as two-year-olds, but now we are friends just the same. And he has introduced me to a handful of people I have little doubt would have been my closest friends had I not left the state in '94.
March for me has always been a time of reunion. Reunion with this wonderful country, reunion with those I love, and reunion of long-lost friends.
Now the memory of that chilly March drive to Virginia warms my heart with the joy of friends reunited…the foreboding March cold in the nation’s capital replaced with searing springtime sun. The vapid winter dies and life promises to abound for many days to come.
In March I turn on the TV and see young athletes full of dreams. I retire late and wake to a cool, bright, and alive world. The earth of the mountains begins to shift slowly to greener hues. I laugh and idle away the hours with people I love.
At this crossroads of the seasons, I look ahead with hope. In this March of 2009, I received a call to serve as a missionary in California. My mother pointed out that the call came on the fourth. “March fourth,” she said. “And that’s what you’ll do. March forth.” March is so bitter and so beautiful. But in a time where I taste such a multiplicity of emotions, I can only press on with the hope of springtime. I can only march forth, for I know now that winter pain is soon replaced with peace, grey emptiness with friendship, and that the equinox of loneliness will give way to the rising brightness of love.
I know it's possible that the mail takes a little longer and I don't get my mission call today, but here I am at 2 am on Wednesday and I'd just like to say a couple things before it comes in case I get a very special envelope tomorrow. When I look back at things I've wanted in my life, the list gets pretty crazy. Since about last year, I've wanted to be a dominant basketball player. Since 7th grade, I've wanted to be a professional skateboarder. And since kindergarten, I've known that I want to be married for eternity. I'm ok at basketball. I was truly humbled at the skatepark today (first time in six years). And the woman thing- that's on its way in about two years. But looking back at everything I've dreamed of in my life, there's something I've wanted longer than all those I just mentioned. The first thing that I ever really wanted in my life was to be a missionary. When I was three-years-old, my Dad filmed me singing "Called to Serve" with all the zeal one can have when he loves to sing it, but only knows the "Onward, ever onward" part of the song. But I yelled that with all that I had. I've grown a foot or two (different song, I know), and I'm as ready as a nineteen-year-old is to become a workhorse. Very soon, I'll know when and where the Lord wants me. I've never been more excited for something in my life. Until the call comes I'll be struggling to sleep, listening to Tom Petty yell "the waiting is the hardest part!" And I'll be smiling- like a three-year-old whose first dream is about to come true.