Oregon. That place is full of holy ground. Ordinary, everyday places became sacred, holy places as God touched my heart and changed me. It was in Oregon where I really learned to love.
I learned to love God. I learned to love His children. I learned to love the scriptures. I learned to love His work. I learned to love the sacrament. I learned to love Sunday. I learned to love the temple. I learned to love obedience. I learned to love prayer. I learned to love covenant making. I learned to love covenant keeping. I learned to love the hymns. I learned to love leading music. I learned to love studying. I learned to love mornings. I learned to love vegetables. I learned to love (or at least not dread) exercise. I learned to love reading texts out loud (I seriously miss that one. I very strongly -considered screen-shotting and emailing all my texts from this week to Sister West, but then I figured she probably would just be mad that I took up all of her email time with a zillions "You're home! What now?" texts). I learned to LOVE being called "Sister" (Want to be my best friend? Just call me Sister. Seriously. I will love you forever.). I learned to love old people, young people, smelly people, scary people, nice people, stranger people, hippy people, sad people, happy people, rich people, poor people, clean people, dirty people, tall people, short people, fat people, skinny people...you get the picture.
WHO KNEW THERE WERE SO MANY PEOPLE/EXPERIENCES/PLACES/THINGS TO LOVE IN THIS WORLD???
...And then they made me come home. It is way more okay than I thought it would be. I still get intensely sad sometimes. Usually it's when I lay in bed at night and realize I don't get to be a full-time, name-badge wearing missionary the next day. Or when I'm getting dressed. Oh, getting dressed is the worst. If I'm going to wear pants that day (which is necessary when you go to a 2 and 4 year-old's birthday party at a bounce house place) it takes me a good 30 minutes just to convince myself wearing pants in public is okay. Plus nothing, nothing looks good when you're missing your very best accessory: the badge. But the sadness is okay. Nephi said "it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things." And the sadness is worth every ounce of happiness.
It was the best 18 months of my life. But this is going to be the best 18 months of my life, too. I figure as long as you are exactly where the Lord wants you to be, every 18 months can be the best. So here's to the next 18 months and whatever they might bring.