We had a great visit via Skype with Nathan on Sunday! He reminded us that it was almost exactly two years ago that he received his mission call. In some ways it seems like it was yesterday and in other ways it was a very long time ago. As I have reflected on that summer these last few days what sticks out most in my mind is how I developed a new level of respect and understanding of Hannah in the Old Testament. Hannah, who was barren, promised the Lord that if He would bless her with a son then she would “lend him to the Lord for this life.” (1 Samuel 1:11). In a some small way I felt that I understood Hannah.
It was good to be able to carry on a conversation with Nathan. In some ways he is just like he has always been and in other ways very different. For example, I jokingly asked him if he wanted us to buy a BYU sports pass for the coming year. He has always been an avid BYU football/basketball fan so I was a little surprised when he replied “only if it doesn’t cost too much.” What? – I figured he would go without food in order to go to the games. Or when we asked what habits he was going to keep when he got back he told us that he wanted to get up at 6 am every morning. Alisa said “What? You sleep in until 11!” Nathan replied “not in 2 years.” He also told us about a shooting that happened at his apartment complex – not something a mom wants to hear; friends that he has made that he would like to keep – something a mom loves to hear; and that he would love to move to Arizona – hummm, that is a little difficult to hear but also wonderful that he loves his mission so much.
So 2 years later I guess I can say that I now understand what Hannah understood from the beginning: that although she gave Samuel to the Lord for this life, he would be always – for eternity – be her child and she would be his mother.