Over the past few years I have been to dozens of farewells and homecomings for my missionary friends. Today, I attended my own. It was an incredibly surreal experience. It seems so final now.
I've been on an emotional roller coaster over the past week. Yesterday, I broke down after a batch of cookies didn't turn out quite right, for heavens sake. So it's no surprise that as we began the meeting this morning and I looked out at a sea of faces that I loved and admired, I was overwhelmed with love and the emotions again began to flow. For the rest of the day I have been constantly working to hold back tears. Tears of stress, and sadness, and fear, but most of all, happiness.
Today was wonderful. I was able to bear my testimony to all those most important in my life. What could be better than that? Much of my talk was based on this speech by Elder Bednar. You should read it. It's life changing.
As an almost missionary I now understand how much this day means. I am so grateful for all those that made time to be there to support me on such a busy day. I don't know how to adequately thank everyone who needs to know of my sincere appreciation but here is my lame attempt:
Thank you to my ward family. I have been affected by primary teachers, young women leaders, sunday school teachers, relief society sisters, primary children, bishopric members and friends as you have taught through lessons, testimonies, and most of all example.
Thank you to family friends. From old ward members, to the parents of my friends, and more. You had no obligation to be there today, yet you were, thank you.
Thank you to my wonderful Kindergarten families. I have absolutely loved getting know you and your children and it brightened my whole day to see some of you today and to be able to share my testimony with you.
Thank you to my extended family. I have watched and learned from all you as I ave grown up. The older I get the more I am able to relate to you and become your friend, but I still look up to you as my examples. I am so grateful for the time I get to spend with you. Thank you for your continued support, generosity and love.
Thank you to my friends. How did I get so lucky to call you my friends? How do I explain how much you all mean to me? Every single one of you inspires me to be a better person. Every time I am with you I am uplifted and feel better about myself. And along the way I laugh like crazy. I will miss you so much, especially as I leave knowing things will probably never be the same as they are now, but I will be so happy to see you progress and move on in life. The tears are flowing again now thinking of how much I love each of you. Thank you for being the people you are.
And finally, thank you to my family. Thank you for all your hard work to make today happen. Thank you for putting up with me and all my stress. Thank you...for everything. You are my everything.