i was homesick for the first part of my time in japan, and so allowed myself little time to seriously consider returning home (i took the requisite "surprised" photo with said papers when they came). i'd heard the idea of reading all 138 sections of the doctrine and covenants in reverse order when you had 138 days remaining, and so counted out the days so that i could read the whole book in the remaining time, but, apart from that, i did not look to the finish line but continued to keep the pace.
soon i could no longer count months, but weeks. and, soon, it was only days. on the very last night before my time was over and i would return to the mission home in kobe, my companion and i biked down to the shotengai, a sort of covered outdoor mall, going out to do the most basic and iconic missionary work, out talking with people on the streets; one last time.
i would have loved to find that one "golden" person that night. to give away a book of mormon to someone who, i would found out in a letter a few months later, read it and joined the church. but the truth is, no one would talk to us. we were out there for a few hours, talking with whomever would stop, asking them what they knew about the meaning of Christmas (it was just a week before the holiday)' telling them we had a message that would change their life if they would give us only five minutes; working just as we had worked every other day.
no books. no numbers. nothing.
sure, it would have been cool find someone on the very last night of my two years (and another missionary from my group did have such an experience), but it didn't bother me. i realized that my mission was not based upon the success of my last night. that the meaning of all the work that i did was not contingent upon that one day, but, rather, every day that i had worked. the sweetest and best and most memorable did not necessarily come on notable days; i don't think my 6-month, one-year, or 18-month days were inherently better than other days. instead of forcing the fun and favorite memories to come at pre-arranged times, i had a library of experiences that had happened when they happened.
and so it is with posts, too. i'll look back over the year and see which ones rose to be the best, likely growing from the occasion, rather than being forced into greatness.
like the young boy, russell, comments in up when speaking of the few times he has had with his father, "i guess it's the regular stuff i remember best."
thanks for reading my first 400 postings.