Sunday, February 26, 2012

I Love Thee, I Love Thee Not…

Ok, attention everyone: My mom wanted me to make a special announcement in a public forum, and I was only too happy to oblige. I love and respect my parents too much to do anything contrary to their will. So I would like to take this time to announce that my mother has officially seen the tail end of a half-century. The big 5-0. As of February 19, 2012, Connie Sweeney has turned 5x10 years old. Well, I hope I did that justice. Although, you have to admit, she’s still held together pretty well. You’ll have to ask her how she does it. I know, but I wouldn’t want to embarrass her by explaining it here.

Anyway, another week, another destiny. I’m now well into the rhythm of my area and speaking Spanish on a more or less constant basis. Which is something I would like to speak of a bit more in depth, because before, it hasn’t been something I’ve been particularly excited to speak about. Well, speaking about my speaking, that is. In Spanish. I will occasionally get letters from people asking me if I’m fluent yet or how I feel about it. The truth is, I try not to think about it too much. I tend to think in terms of mental pictures, and when I think of me and Spanish together in the same sentence, the picture of me trying to break free of an animal muzzle comes to mind. I feel like I am so restricted when I speak, and I’m just waiting to break loose of my restraint. And then when night comes, and I have the time to talk with my old companion, Hermana Lund, it’s like coming up for air. Dramatico, no? Ok, well, I do like speaking Spanish, and the fact that I came into the field with so much experience (8 years, more or less), means I can speak more grammatically correct than a lot of the missionaries. Heck, I can speak more grammatically correct than the people who live here. But it is a mental struggle to conjugate it all. I learned Spanish backwards; normally people learn how to speak and then to read and write. I learned it versa vice, so I can read and write pretty well, but speaking… I feel like a dearn fool sometimes. And it doesn’t help that when I first started out (and sometimes still), people will say, “she doesn’t understand Spanish, does she?” Or I feel like the lesson I just taught went really well, only to find that they didn’t seem to understand a bloody word of it. But what’s really strange is, some days I understand everything people are saying to me, and other days, I feel like they can’t possibly still be speaking Spanish because I didn’t understand a single thing that I heard. I’m just trying to remember to be patient with myself and to stop whining because some people come out to the mission with not a word of Spanish to their name. I guess I’ll just look at the glass of Chinola juice as half full and not half empty. Oooooh, maybe I’ll learn how to be wise as well as fluent. A twofer.

But I’ve realized my love-hate relationship is not confined to the language only. It’s the whole enchilada, o sea, mission. I’ve realized my attitude towards my mission is the same I have about most of my past jobs: the idea of going out and working makes me moan and groan and desire to do anything else than what I know I inevitably need to do. If I need a quick fix, I could always just swallow a couple of glasses of tap water. That could put me out for a couple days. Yes, I really do think about these things. For anyone who has put me on a pedestal as being super girl, I warn you of getting Harvey Dent syndrome. For all who have seen the Dark Knight, you all know what happened to him. Everyone put all their faith eggs into his basket because he seemed to have it all together, and then look what happened: His face got soaked in acid, he went insane over the death of his fiancee, and eventually ended up being pushed off of a rooftop by Batman. And I’d hate for that to happen to me or anyone else. So the moral of the story is, if I give the honest truth about my opinions and/or emotions, I hope it won’t be throwing acid on any ones high opinion of me. Because in all sincerity, I’m as normal and twisted as anyone else. Now I just happen to be that way on God’s time card.
Anyway, to get more or less back on track, some days, the thought of going out into the heat and beating the pavement are enough to put me over the edge. But usually, once I get out there into the fray, I’m fine. I actually really, mostly like it. It’s just freakin’ hard. But once I can actually forget about myself and get out there with the people and have my average, crazy experiences, I’m just peachy. Like Jamba Juice. When I thought of endless hours of smoothie making, I died a little bit inside. But when I actually went to work, I had a blast. They say attitude is everything. They say correctly.
Well, the only thing else I feel the need to add at this point is the awesomeness that was the conference I had a chance to go to this last Saturday and hear Big Bad Bednar himself speak. For those who don’t know who he is, he is an apostle of the church. And a powerful speaker. Because of copyright, I can’t really talk about anything he said, but suffice it to say, it was an Experience. He’s a lot shorter in person (aren’t they always) and he’s starting to look older. But I will say, when he was baring his testimony about Joseph Smith and the restoration of the church, he said, “and it’s true. It’s all true.” And I believed him. Because I guess I always knew, but still, I’m human and I’m logical and I question a lot. But hearing him say that was somehow very reassuring. And reminded me how nice it is to have a prophet and apostles on the earth. It’s a hard job, and I’m sure glad I don’t have to do it. But it’s nice to reap the benefits. And it was nice to see the missionaries from my old area. I’m getting to that stage of being a missionary where I actually know a lot of people at these mission get-togethers, so it’s nice. Almost seven months later, I’m a legit missionary now. I hope.

Ok, that’s all the time I have for today. And in case anyone has forgotten, my Mom just recently turned 50. And my dad also just turned 49. They sure grow up fast. Where has the time gone? I don’t know, but enjoy it while it lasts.

Con amor and nothing more,
Hermana Sweeney

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