Last month we lost one of our own--I blogged about it a few days ago. Another one of our group posted this picture on Facebook and it made me realize what an impact a single picture can have, what memories it can conjure, what emotions it can recall.
What you see is a two groups of LDS missionaries. There are six in my group, six in the other group. Each month one group leaves and another arrives. I believe this picture was taken just before the group a month ahead of us left for Denmark. They had spent ten weeks learning about the Danish people, their culture and especially their language. Seeing this picture brought it all back to me.
We looked up to the earlier group. They had such a command of the language. I mean, when we were dropped off and completely clueless, these guys could really speak Danish! It was incredible! Not only was their Danish great, but they were all stand-up quality guys. The same can be said for our group, except we were fortunate enough to have a sister missionary with us...a real stand-up gal.
They left then four weeks later it was our turn. For the next two years we would run into each other occasionally, catch up and enjoy each other's company all over again. When you go through something like we did in the Missionary Training Center, or MTC for short, you share an experience. It bonds you together and it's something I can still feel thirty years later.
We all came home and went our separate ways. I've stayed in touch with some, others I haven't seen in decades. There's been marriages, divorces and lots of kids. We've lost parents, seen kids get married and even sent some of our children to the MTC to experience a mission for themselves.
And the process begins all over again--such is life.
But at no time in those thirty years have we had to say goodbye to one of our own. Until now. It's the same fate that awaits us all. Looking at this picture reminds me of those relationships, the friendships we've had since then and how those ten weeks and subsequent two years changed our lives forever.
A single photo, turns out, can be pretty powerful.