Monday, May 8, 2017

Lists and Labels

In our attempts to maintain a sense of order, we organize things (events, foods, even people) into lists and then put labels on them.  It is easy to get uncomfortable when we encounter something that doesn't quite fit.  This is a normal thing to do and is even to some extent helpful.  But it can also be a little dangerous, especially if our mental lists and labels are "written" in ink.  Fortunately, we can move things around.

Today is the half-way point of our mission.  In one sense, the past nine months have flown by.  In another, this is the only life we have ever known.  Our lists and labels have really changed in our first nine months here in France, and they will no doubt change even more in the nine months to come.  Our list of things that are "hard to do", or "don't make sense" and the list of "things that we miss from home" are much shorter now.  Missing family is still at the top, but many of the things after that have dropped off or even been moved to the "easy" or "logical" list. 

As we now turn the corner on our mission experience, we are finding that there are other lists that are starting to grow.  We notice that we are often saying to each other, "We are really going to miss ______ when we leave here".  These ever growing lists includes many gastronomic entries, beautiful things from nature, an incredibly rich culture and history, art and architecture, a beautiful language, and high on the list, so many extraordinary people.  Another incredibly significant thing we will no doubt miss is all the great blessings that come when one has the privilege to wear a missionary badge.  Many of these blessings are so immediately evident to us that it almost makes us laugh, while others are so subtle that they are easy to miss.  The reality is that we probably aren't even completely aware of all of them, and the full impact of the blessings of missionary service will only become fully evident when we take our badges off in nine more months from now.  But driving and parking in big cities stays where we first put it, in indelible ink!

Here are just a few examples of things from our "we are really going to miss this" list.

Beautiful French marchés... tile roofs covered in moss and lichens...


...associating with crazy-wonderful missionaries...

...funny little cars...

...hundreds, sometimes even thousands of years of architecture all in a row...

...the smell of fresh baking bread on almost any street...

...cheese that smells likes angels' feet...

...little "bouchon" restaurants where the table is yours for the entire evening...

...fields of yellow canola flower blossoms...

...narrow cobblestone roads...

...scriptures in glass...

...and the blessings of wearing these.


  1. Those pastries look so perfect and delicious!!!😊-Claire

  2. Christian says, "Woah. That's a strange market."

  3. Livy says those pastries look yummy.

  4. Livy also says, "That's a lot of cheese."

  5. Christian says, "Those pastries look out of this world."

  6. I can't believe you're half way done!! Woo hoo. I bet there are a lot of things you'll miss, but that's fun for us to say you're halfway done.

  7. Your half way done! You get to come home soon! Yay! I miss you so much!-Claire

  8. Naney wants to know if you can eat the cheese that smells like angels feet?

  9. European chocolate, sryop au mint in hot chocolate, pain au chocolat, lardons, orangina, creme fraiche, and cathedrals... all things from my own list that I still miss to this day. But fortunately nutella made it's way to the states, otherwise that might be #1 on the list!


  10. Train rides, lavender fields, vineyards, and YOP- just thought of a few more!