This past week a few people asked about when I'll be coming home.
I will be released as a missionary on December 31st but will be staying out here in Utah to start at BYU a few days later. The weekend of January 17-19 I'll be heading back to Georgia, which is also when I'll be speaking at my church on Sunday (the 19th) but I'm not sure at what time yet.
These past twenty-some-odd months have been indescribable. More than two years ago I headed up to Rock Canyon at BYU and opened up a little letter that changed everything for me. I still remember the first people I told in person: my roommate Jared and his family. Not one of them knew how to react when I told them I was going an hour up the road to Salt Lake City. (Although I can't blame them at all for that). I had called a lot of my immediate family members right after I opened the letter and if I remember correctly, every single one laughed but still was genuinely excited (with a lot of tears mixed in). When I texted my high school lacrosse team to tell them, they were perhaps the most honest of everyone. Mike Rettker had always made jokes about visiting me in Tahiti or Africa or someplace cool while I was on my mission. His response to my call to Utah was something to the effect of "I'm sorry." Most of them asked if I had done something wrong to get sent to Mormon Mecca :)
Once, at BYU, my friends and I all piled in our cars to head to another part of Utah to be with a friend as he opened his call. His mom asked us while we were waiting if any of us had calls yet. Two of us did. The other person said some place in Mexico, followed by a chorus of "wows" and "oohhs." Then..."Salt Lake City, Utah." No one said anything for a few seconds until his mom asked "are you even excited?" Priceless.
Coming here has been, like I said before, indescribable. It feels like everything has changed for me. Its been the best experience of my entire life and has meant everything for me. The last five weeks will be the best five weeks.
People keep asking how I feel about going home and I don't know how to respond. Maybe I'll figure that out sometime in the next year or two.