This is where I was working when your son spied me
and confidently strolled over to greet me.
Dear Mormon mom,
Your son stopped by my house the other day.
I know he's been out on mission for a while so let me fill you in.
He looked good.
neat hair cut,
I was wrestling with a unwieldy rose bush as he and his partner approached. Excitedly, they asked if they could help with my project. If I had let them, I'm sure they would have laid aside their bibles, loosened their ties, and worked until they sweated through their crisp white dress shirts. But I turned down their offer, laid aside my clippers and launched at them a barrage of questions about their work as missionaries and how their adventure was unfolding.
Your son stood up straight, looked me in the eye, and smiled as we talked.
As your son stood and talked, this bounty of wood hyacinth prepared to bloom on his right.
We had a great conversation. They've been away from home for a few months now, still getting into their routine, growing accustomed to ongoing changes as they move from place to place, working with different partners, meeting new people. Though I assured them that I've already got plenty of Jesus in my life, they walked me through their approach to sharing the good news, offering me a booklet and asking me what I thought about the picture on the cover.
Your boy was confident, caring and calm.
During our chat, I let on about you. I mentioned that I have several friends who are Mormon moms with sons out on mission and that sometimes, my friends worry about their son's well-being. Both boys smiled understandingly and said, "Tell your friends not to worry. We take pretty good care of ourselves." They told me about a pair of local doctors who provide free medical care and one boy said to the other, "If you don't stop hiccuping so much, I think you better call them."
These guys look out for each another.
Another topic of conversation: how fortunate your son was to be placed for his mission in this naturally beautiful corner of the country.
We talked for maybe fifteen minutes. As we began to say our goodbyes, I reached for my clippers and the boys took one more shot. "Are you sure we can't help you with this yard work?" they politely asked.
"Thanks but no," I explained. "This is my therapy."
"Oh, it's our therapy too," your son said.
I thought that was adorable.
But in the end, they strode off together, that pair of eighteen-year-old Elders, sincere ambassadors for the Latter-Day Saints and all-around good men.
This heap of thorny trimmings is less than half of what I cut away from that troublesome rose bush, and I've got the scars to prove it. I'm happy to report that your son escaped unscathed.
Mom, I know it's hard to be so far away from your son, with the lines of communication cut to a bare minimum. There are plenty of things for a mother's mind to worry about and good reasons for concern.
But trust me. Your son is doing just fine.
And he totally made my day.
* * * * *
P.S. Wait. Young women can be LDS missionaries too? Then all my sentiments apply also to them and the mothers who love them. Don't worry, Mormom moms: I'll keep an eye out for your girl!