Countdown of a Lifetime

Down to 15 days.

I had my farewell this past sunday. As I look back, it doesn’t seem real at all. I am in a dream-like state right now. This has been true for the past few months.

It isn’t always this way though. Sometimes reality will hit me, if only for a brief second. Just enough to jar me sideways and remind me of what is to come. Even then I am not phased. 

I feel as if I were completely numb to the fact that I am leaving my life for 18 months. Subconsciously, I believe, my mind has found a way to repress my feelings (of sadness, nervousness, etc.) and put them far away from any risk accidental retrieval.  It is the only feasible explanation to me. 

This does not excuse me from the ever-present cloud of stress hanging over my shoulders. I feel the tiniest of details slipping through my grasp and the familiar twinge of panic starting to set in. What if I forget mosquito repellant? How do I get my passport back from Travel services before I leave? Do I have enough shirts and skirts? Are dark green tights a conservative color? The amount of all of these minuscule questions is nauseating, 

After all of this, I still do not believe that I am going to Russia. 

I cannot fathom that I am learning a new language. Not only that, but I have been guaranteed to be going to a new country to learn a new language. Which is exactly what I wanted to do when I decided I wanted to go on a mission. Now all I wanted is at the edge of my fingertips, and it is hard for me to wrap my head around this. 

I think it was Elder Holland who said something like, “Sometimes in times of trouble we have to hold on to the things we do know, and we know that God loves us.”

I know that through my times of trouble and strife I can find peace and guidance. Even though I complain about it now, I believe that all things will work out through Heavenly Father on his time. 

-Sister James


Thoughts and Promises

I find myself within my own thoughts more often now.

I take the time to process the small things- those which I will be without come December.

Utah sunsets are frequent characters in the story of my mind. I notice the vast variety of colors that appear as the day melts away. Though some of these are not as spectacular as others, they each hold specific and unique qualities of their own. Milky  purples and soft pinks are contrasted against vibrant yellows and deep maroon abysses.

Each one noticed and then added to the ever growing album in my head.

I find myself in those moments of solace. I can’t help but feel some cosmic significance in knowing ahead of time the things I will need to live without. I have been able to connect with my future self in a sense that I can memorize my life now for reflection later. The realization of this both excites and haunts me.

I found something remarkable the other day that added to my feelings towards cosmic intervention. A small miracle that would hold no appeal to anyone else but me.

I found what I call “My Inspiration Box”.

Inside I found a rather eclectic collection of items- each referring to a piece of my past. A small bird figurine, a business card from a favorite restaurant, etc. Three things came to my attention.

1. A note someone anonymous had given me.

A note that simply said “I wish I had a testimony as strong as yours”. I remember that I had cried when I found that note. I wish that I knew who it was. I would thank them for giving me something that had previously pushed me through one of the harder times in my life.

2. A picture of my cousin Sara.

I probably have never told her what an amazing inspiration she is to me. She has such a sense of adventure and wondrous spontaneity. Always going somewhere or doing something of significance. She has been that person that I have always looked up to since I was little. I remember more than I thought I would. We would have tea parties, even though I didn’t like the taste. She would babysit me and we would order pizza. She had a kitten named Chloe that I loved. Even when I was little I knew she was special, and even now I think she is a wonderful person that I will always look up to. I should have told her sooner. When I do see her there is never much to talk about,   so it feels more awkward then I expect. I am never good in conversations when I only see or speak to a person every few months. Weather, at that time, suddenly becomes interesting.

3. A newspaper clipping

A wedding announcement of two people I have never met. Very simple too- The two are return missionaries and they are married in the Salt Lake Temple. I remember putting it in my box when I first made it. I made it my goal and it has slowly been imbedded into my mind. To me, the temple was a castle. Even before I was baptized I thought that princesses lived inside and that the gold angel on top was guarding them. That’s what little girls dream of right? To be a princess and live with a knight or a Prince and live somewhere beautiful and get married. So even when I didn’t know what it was, I wanted to go inside someday. Now that that day has come and I have entered the temple and felt what it was like to be there- I felt like a princess. Something more divine than I imagined has come to my attention. Do not get me wrong I was as confused as ever, and I need to go back to understand more. Though, I feel that as long as I strive for understanding and remember things like that newspaper clipping and the promise made by a young girl, everything will be as it should.

I have a journal finally full of moments like these. Mostly meant for the eyes of those I trust in this world. I thought it was important to share this small piece of myself for now.


(Russian: till next we meet)

-Sister James