There are somedays where you just feel like life is perfect. Where you feel the kind of happy where you're giddy and yet serious, incandescently joyful in every way--physical, emotional, spiritual. That is today. It's been such an odd day, yet one full of the spirit and Zion and laughter and glee.
It started out with the walk to the church. We walked in right as the Branch president was welcoming everyone to Sacrament Meeting, due to a kind of late start, but as I look to my right as I walk in I see a familiar face. No, it was not one of my BYU friends. I would be expecting them. It was an Elder Arrington. As in, Travis Arrington who is from my home stake and graduated high school with me and had seminary with me a couple semesters and...yeah. So weird. We were probably the last people on earth the other person was expecting to see. Although we weren't good friends in high school, more like acquaintances who occaisionally did something together with a group or whatever, it was nice to see each other and chat. His companion was really great too and they had fun talking with the guys in our group. It was kind of nice to know someone that wasn't from our group. :) But wow, was it weird. I knew he had gone to England, but I didn't know which mission and I certainly wasn't looking for him or expecting to run into him. So it was just random, but fun. Hello to everyone from home in Twin from Elder Travis Arrington!
Sacrament meeting was lovely. The branch has stake conference next week and so it was their fast and testimony meeting. Sunday School and the combined RS/Preisthood lesson were kind of odd, but still great. The meeting was on Welfare. It ties in very well with our goal of forming a Zion community within our study abroad group. We're slowly getting there. Tonight on the beach I was thinking that. I'm not sure what I'm going to do without this "family" of mine, of these 30 people who I've grown to love.
Sundays are interesting because we spend most of the day in the church. It's a place where we can have choir practice, make and eat food, nap, meditate, write, laugh and have fun. Today some people wandered around outside a bit because it was a gorgeous day. The past few days here on the coast have been the most perfect weather imaginable. Not too hot, but definately hot and sunny and glorious.
The fireside tonight went well. I had the wonderful opportunity to sing "My Shepard Will Supply my Need." :) I love being able to share my testimony through music. And although I like to accompany the group on piano, being able to sing is a completely different experience. And we all know how much I love to sing. Everyone on this trip certainly does; they have to put up with me and Christine and others singing all the time.
After the fireside, most of us headed down to the beach for a night full of perfect moments. I love wading in the warm water here in Weymouth, dancing along the shore, splashing up the salty water into little droplets in the air that land on my legs. Of course there's singing involved. I think the choice of the night was "The Way You Look Tonight." I'm not sure whether I was singing to my friends or England. :) Sigh. Christine and I ran along the shore as the waves gently rolled in. I spun around and we waded in clear up to our thighs, which actually means you can go quite far, because the water is so shallow. The boys told awkward mission stories. And the whole time I was just thinking about how perfect those moments were. The way the water sprayed up. How soft the sand was. How blue the cliffs and the horizon and the ocean all joining together were, and how God made these creations just for me. And how I was in England with some of the best people ever laughing and smiling and dancing and spinning in the waves and singing hymns and Disney and Sinatra and throwing sand and doing the Crane Dance and snapping and whistling and running and playing and living life and loving it after a day full of music and God and the gospel and chicken alfredo and custard cremes (which are, in case I have not mentioned, my England addiction). Seriously. I just don't know how you can beat that.
And this is what every day of my life has been like for the past month. I mean, yes, there have been some ups and downs. Like the day after Styhead Pass, when my camera was broken (it still hasn't started working again, so sorry about the lack of pictures. I'm sharing Christine's camera--my memory card is currently in there, and we're just going in together, as will most of us I think, so you'll see pictures, you just don't have them right now, but I don't either, so you can't complain much) and I was just exhausted and cold and lonely. But for the most part, the overwhelming majority of the time, life has been wonderful and I cannot complain. You all know how excited I was for this trip. Just imagine all my expectations times a million and then completely blown out of the water. That's what it has been so far. And there's still 3 weeks left. I don't want to come home in 3 weeks. We just keep pretending that there's still another 8 when we're done. At least most of us are taking the class together in the fall. And although England is beautiful and amazing and I love it here, the best part is the people I am with. Hurrah for Israel. Although we have 30 of the most diverse people--in background, in political views, where we are on our journeys in life and our conversion process, etc--we're all united in our love of this gospel and of each other and are helping each other grow and love. I can't think of one person in this group without smiling and feeling overwhelmed with love for them. And that is what Zion is.
I feel like Lizzie and Darcy at the end of the Kiera Knightly Pride and Prejudice where they're "incandescantly happy" or something of the sort. I just cannot stop smiling. Life is perfect. I'm completely happy in every single way I can possibly think of (which is actually quite a lot). England + God, His creations, and His gospel + wonderful wonderful wonderful people + Love + being me + music and dance = perfection. That's all there is to it.