Coming home off a mission is one of the most tear gripping, entertaining, confusing roller coaster rides EVER! As I was sitting on the plane just about to land at the Salt Lake City airport I could feel my anxiety heighten but with the anxiety came excitement. I was so excited to see the family that I haven't seen in person for 18 months and yet again I was soo nervous. It was a wonderful experience to come down the escalator to see 3 huge families waiting for their missionaries to come home! It was an experience that warranted the tears. It was such a relief to be with my family and once I was all the anxiety melted away.
It was almost torture to wait to be released at 7 pm but it came quickly. As I was being released I could definitely feel the added measure of spirit leaving. It was heart breaking but at the same time I felt well prepared for it. I knew it was coming and I also felt in my heart that it was okay for it to happen. I know that even though it will be hard to not have it 24/7 I still have access to it. I have made the goal to study each and every day as long as I possibly can (meaning up to an hour if I have time for it). It is there in my studies that I feel the influence of the spirit the most. It is so comforting and calming. It sets the day off right. It makes me more mindful of the things that I do during the day to keep that spirit around.
There is nothing quite like being a missionary one minute and then suddenly the next minute you aren't a missionary anymore. Once you are released you suddenly have all the possibilities of things to do yet I often find myself staring off in the distance trying to decide what to do next. I have no planner, no plans and a big list of questions. Some of the questions are When do I go find a job? Where will I find a job? How do people contact me (I have no cell phone)? etc. It took about 3 days but I finally got brave enough to get on Facebook. Its amazing of all the things that happen in 18 months! Truly Fascinating! Other things that have fascinated me are how well trained my body is to wake up after 8 hours of sleep, how different my reactions are to things, and how much I have truly grown closer to my Savior. I knew there were things that would change as I changed but I didn't realize just how much I would need to continue to change regarding myself as I settled back in. I reference the movies I now watch, the conversations I now participate in, how I respond to comments, and how I treat my family members. All these changes are for the better and if it wasn't for the mission I would never have been able to see the changes that still need to take place. So coming home is not only the strangest and hardest thing ever it is the most rewarding. I imagine that going home to Heavenly Father will feel much like coming off a mission. So my advice is to never stop looking for the changes that we can make. Our full time missions may be over but our mission here on earth isn't, so we must make the most of it =) Love You!