In answer to my brother Dan's question when are you coming home, last night, I had a funny reaction--it was that wistful, lonely feeling of a small child longing for his mommy. A kind of teary reaction, you know? very, very fleeting in time, but still very real. I told him the same thing I've told others, that Elder and Sister O'Dell have extended our mission another four months, and we will be released, come April 30, 2010.
Just why such lonliness flairs up after an absence from my family for some fifty years, I do not know, but I appreciate that feeling of brotherhood and kindship that I've not felt in many, many years.
Which feeling has led me to ponder, all day long, just what is all this about, this mission stuff; this Church stuff. It kinda brings one up short. But it also brings one to consider on the many gospel lessons I have been professing this past six months, and the eighteen months some five years ago--just what is it all about?
My answer? Eternal Life! You know, I've processed that term now, for many, many years. Never thought much about it much, just kind of took it all for granted. But somehow in the six months that we've been in Michigan, the idea of Eternal Life has come into sharper focus, along with my determination to achieve it--(Note: I'm learning that it is not something one just falls into; it must be earned. And the "earning" is not all that easy! When the apostle Paul said to "work our your own salvation with fear and trembling," he was not just whistling Dixie!
One realization garnered this time around, is that real, true Eternal life is not just a berth in the Celestial Kingdom--or "Heaven" as some people like to think, but an entire dimension that is all by itself. It is the place the Savior taught: "Strait is the gate, and Narrow the way that leadeth unto life, and few there be that enter thereat." ( ). I guess what I'm saying, is that in recent months I have learned that that narrow and strait gate is just as it says it is--very, very strictured to get through.