My missionary is home . . . early.
For many of you your first thought is pity for me because you assume he has a moral issue and that I’m embarrassed. Or perhaps he was poorly committed to a mission, like so many young men seem to be these days. Or ill-prepared in the first place.
That’s ok. I’ve been in your shoes. I’m not offended.
Luckily, he is surrounded by people who embraced him with open arms and soft hearts when he came home, not quite sure what he was supposed to do, or who he really was. He didn’t ask to come home, and his mission president didn’t want to let him go. He was sent home by Missionary Medical because he was suffering from anxieties so crippling that they were eating away at all of the good he had been able to accomplish in ten months. “Go home, stabilize, and come back,” they said. After a couple of tense weeks praying hourly for his safety, I couldn’t be happier to have him home where he can get therapy and recuperate from the self-torture the past few months have been.
And he’s doing so very well, settling in, searching for ways to serve, asking a lot of pointed, poignant questions about eternity, humbly accepting both that he is broken and that he won’t be forever.
What has surprised me more than any other thing has been the response of other people. Not the ones who have judged him, because I haven’t encountered even one person who has unveiled a sharpened opinion. It is the souls who have experienced this kind of brokenness who have come forward to privately ask how he is with eyes full of knowing tenderness because of their own wrenching experience, some of whom have deep and painful wounds even still.
Like the mother whose son was suffering from an undiagnosed heart condition and asthma, who was sent home unexpectedly, shamefully judged as lazy, on the day of his sudden departure sent to clean a filthy shed in his suit, then dropped off at the airport in only the filthy suit he was wearing, after his plane had departed, to sleep without food or contact or care, until the next day when he was finally, tearfully reunited with his family.