Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Tale of the Butterfly

A week and a half ago, Brent and I went to my mission reunion. It has been ten years since I served in the Chile Santiago West mission and about seven since I went to a reunion. But being there with the people I shared my mission with completely swept me back in time. During my time in Chile, I went from a girl who thought she knew quite a bit about life to a girl who felt she could do nothing to a girl who realized the magnificence of the truths she taught the Chileans and that they also applied to herself. I feel that much of who I am today was forged during that time. When it came time for me to go home, I was terribly excited and also so terribly nervous. I wondered if the person I had fought to become would survive the trip back into the real world. I shared my fears with my mission president, and he told me a cheesy story about how a butterfly never goes back to being a caterpiller. It was completely silly. The only analogy he could have shared that would have been more trite would have been the ugly duckling. Even so, I believed him and I cried. As cliche as it was, I felt like a butterfly and knew I would not revert again to a mere caterpiller. I felt at that moment that he understood me, knew me, and loved me and through him I experienced the all-encompassing love of my Heavenly Father. I feel like my entire mission built to that moment, when I turned to the future with a calm and peaceful heart, sure about myself and my testimony of Christ and His restored gospel. I have not kept in contact with President Hadfield. I knew he moved back to California after his mission years, but that's about it. I saw him at the reunion last week and felt a surprising gush of love for him and his wife. For the first time in a while, I thought of details of the mission years and noticed with pride the parts of me that exist because of them. I embraced both President and Sister Hadfield and again was thankful for what we shared. I am grateful for that experience. I got an email yesterday that President Hadfield passed away early Monday morning. Although I have not been close with him, I feel that a part of me is gone. My thoughts and prayers go out to Sister Hadfield and all of the Hadfield family. This is a picture taken on Saturday evening at his stake's prom. (A stake prom? What a gung-ho stake activities committee they must have!) I love it because Sister Hadfield is laughing and President is trying not to. I think it gives them a wonderful realness. I will miss President John C. Hadfield and am honored to be one of his missionaries.


Ginger said...

I loved the story of the butterfly. It took me back to my "Happiness is a butterfly..." stage. I also loved your strong spirit and testimony shared in the post. I am glad that you had the opportunity to serve a mission and become the person that you are. You are such a great woman Paige!

Love ya,

Paige said...

I LOVED the "Happiness is a Butterfly" portion of your life and I am so glad that I got to be with you during it! What happy happy memories! And to think we're making more of them now...