They Usually Come on Thursdays

It didn’t happen the way I had constantly played it out in my head. But in some ways, it was much better. After church I called Dad; he said he’d come and pick me up because driving in today’s weather was risky .

By the time Dad got here, half my family on his side (aunts, uncles, cousins) had gathered for dinner as usual on Sundays. When he broke the news, people started hugging, asking questions, getting loud, and guessing.

“Why did he tell them?” I thought. “It is mine to tell. I wish they’d all be quiet.” Their excitement exceeded mine, and my peace I’d had these last few weeks was being tested.

They all expected me to open it that night. To one cousin I said, “I might open it tonight. Or, I might wait ‘til next weekend.” But I knew tonight would be the night because so many people knew and expected it.

On the way home, Dad turned up the volume, saying “I have a surprise for you.”
I smiled as I heard the King’s Singers fill the car. We talked about the group and our favorite songs on their new CD almost the whole way home. My full measure of peace was returning.

No one at home knew. Upon arriving, I rushed to the bathroom, envelope against my stomach but hidden by my zipped-up coat. Locking the door, I pulled it out and set it on the counter. I sat on the toilet lid and rushed my elbows to my knees, head into hands. Thinking I had to open it in front of everyone, I released a bunch of emotions, then took time to compose again. I heard Madison yell, “She got it?! When?!” And staring at my shoes on the tan-grey tile, I wished I could be the one to tell. So I texted some friends, and cooled down.

Returning to the dining room, Dad asked, “Did you open it?” Surprised by my negative response, he proposed I open it in my parent’s room, then come out when ready to share.

After locking the door, I plopped myself on their bed, placing the envelope in front of me. The clock said 6:00. I got up, leaving the envelope and grabbing a tissue for my eyes and nose. Then suddenly I decided I wanted to open it with one of dad’s guitar picks.

So I crossed to Dad’s guitar stand with a coat hanging over two of the three guitars. I moved it aside, the strings ringing out. No pick. I swiped the coat the other way—more sounds, no picks in the strings. I turned to his drawer and rummaged through. Nothing. “What am I doing?” I thought. “Stalling.” But then I leaped up, walking to his guitar cases.

“Katie! We’re eating! Where’s Katie?” I heard the little ones’ voices.

No picks found, I threw myself back on the bed, deciding I wanted to open this envelope with my own fingers. The address says: “Office of the First Presidency.” I tore it from one side to another; it opened perfectly. Drawing papers out, I put the envelope on top, lowering it with every line I read—slowly. I read the location and put the whole packet down. A million thoughts running through my head, I rushed my hands to my cheeks, fingers closing my eyes. I had to pray-“What is this to me? Let it be mine.” I waited ‘til the peace returned. Then whatever followed, I kept reading. When I got to the language I threw it down again and cried happier tears. Smiled. Breathed. Once it was mine, once it was from the Lord, I prepared to share it with my family. I wanted to share it with them right after. Of course we had to call a bunch of people.
I feel uncomfortably drowned with others’ excitement.

The excitement is there for me, but I want to preserve my peace. The excitement came at age 17 when I decided to go. It came when I turned 18, 19, then 20. It came when I could fill out my papers. I’ve had it for three years, and it comes from the fact that I’m going, not that it’s on paper now. I can’t explain it. Other than being selfish, I don’t know how to explain why I feel that way. But anyway, my mission call is here!


iBo said...


iBo said...

Sorry. I don't think I can fully enjoy this piece for its great writing until I find out where you are going.

Kaitlin said...

I will be kinder than Ivor. I can certainly enjoy your writing in this piece--and did--but still, I have to repeat his question...WHERE? WHERE? WHERE?

Katie said...

Thank you for your kindness, Kaitlin. I'll see you guys tomorrow in the WC.

Sarachel said...

I don't work at the WC anymore, so if you would kindly disclose the location, I'd appreciate it.

I'm Sara, by the way. I don't believe we've met.

iBo said...

:p thanks Kaitlin. Now I'm a big fat inconsiderate jerk.

I like your detail. It's interesting that you wanted to open it with your Dad's guitar pick.

I didn't actually get to open the envelope. I got to open an email attachment. Ha!

Congratulations Katie!

Katie said...

I'm serving in the Texas Houston South Mission, Spanish speaking.
I'll be leaving 10 June.

Matthew R. Hall, Esq. said...

I didn't get this at first, but I think it's about people trying to take this experience away from you and make it their own. That's at least a theme I'm seeing a little bit of. And now I feel a little embarrassed that I probably did the same thing.

But this is really neat. I'm excited.

Kaitlin said...

HOORAY!!! I'm sorry I didn't see you today so you could tell me in person, but Katie, this is fantastic. You will be phenomenal down there. My dad served Albequerque, NM spanish speaking and LOVED it.

Anonymous said...

That was so mean! I was reading it, waiting to find out, and then I got to the end, and before I could click on the comments I had to run because Elijah had an accident in the bathtub which he'd tried to fix by tossing it overboard, but he was still traumatized. (See what joys of parenthood lie in store for everyone?)

But that is so exciting! Yay for Spanish speakers!! (Sis. Morgan has been absent from the blog lately, so I'm going to exclamation point as much as I want. !)
Hey, we might be in the MTC together for a few days.

And I know what you mean. Part of me didn't even want to tell my family that I'd decided to go on a mission. I wanted to wait until I got my call, open it, and then announce it in a post-it note on the bathroom mirror.
For me, it was a very personal decision that I didn't want analyzed and discussed.

Britt said...

Hey, CONGRATULATIONS! I'm really excited for you.

meghan & jason said...

That's wonderful Katie--the post and the mission call. Congratulations. You will be an angel to so many people there who need you.

What you wrote reminded me a little of when I told my mom I was engaged, and then everyone I knew from every state I'd lived in was congratulating me before I had the chance to tell anyone. You look forward to that moment for so long, and then it's swept away in others' excitement for you. Well, at least you got to hold us in eager anticipation on the blog! :)

iBo said...

I for one told no one. I'm awesome.

Congrats again.

Katie said...

Sorry, the suspense was only half intentional. Crystal--I like the post-it note idea.

Thanks for the congrats and replies, everyone. :)