When Life Gives you Lemons

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

In this crazy weird way, my favorite kind of day as a missionary is when it is pouring down rain, my boots are soaked through and we still have hours ahead of us.  It's so windy the umbrella flips inside out, and despite our timing being so bad we miss the train twice so we just keep on dooring houses while we wait for the next train to arrive.... on this kind of day, the optimism only builds.  It's like a good workout-- it's painful, but you know you're working hard and that you will feel oh-so-good afterwards.  

Trying to rescue a remote control airplane from a tree

However, I have a riddle for anyone with a solid answer-- why on earth was almost NO ONE in this village home to answer their doors when it was a holiday (which in Germany means that EVERYTHING IS CLOSED) and when it was so rainy and dismal that I know they weren't outside?  
Notable Notes:
  • My year-long-valid Austrian visa is officially expired
  • We have this thing going on with an elderly couple in the branch; we snuck banana bread into their mailbox and next thing you know they gifted us with marshmallows and poppyseed pastries; we are going to their house again tonight and they are literally my favorite 
  • You know you're a missionary when you love service and are so excited to help someone move; I am also beyond pumped to help the bishop tile his roof
  • We went to visit a member at a rest home, and when someone asked who we were, the nurse (who never met us) explained that we came to share an important message! What?? That's usually our line! 
  • We found a huge patch of neon turquoise mold festering in our apartment 
  • Finally almost back to health after three weeks of being sick, managed to avoid getting bronchitis again yayyy

         I was born with a defect in my ear-- very small, flat Eustachian tubes -- which made it really difficult for water to drain and thence caused many painful ear infections.  My eardrums ruptured so many times under pressure that they are permanently scarred, and I failed every hearing test I took until I was 17.  Over the years I spent a lot of time at doctors' offices; I distinctively remember tubes being placed in my ears and then subsequently falling out a while later in class.  At my worse point, I had 70% hearing loss in my left ear, so my mother always asked me to placed in the front left corner of the classroom so I could hear the teacher with my 50%-hearing right ear.  
      I remember as a kid it was so absolutely frustrating.  Put aside the hearing problems (though interestingly enough, whilst most people struggle hearing high tones, I struggle with low, which meant that I was always much more likely to respond to my mother than father).  We also discovered that the constant water in my inner ear was also to blame for the balance problems I've struggled with since I was 7, making it difficult to perform well in tumbling, on the beam in gymnastics, or as a flyer at the top of stunts in cheerleading.   My cousins were synchronized swimmers and would also pretend to be mermaids with my sister at the bottom of the pool-- I could never join.  It just hurt too much.  

      The Book of Alma teaches that this life is the probation (or testing) time, the time to prepare to meet our Heavenly Father. In the face of trial, the Lord promised Joseph Smith that, "All these things shall give thee experience and shall be for thy good."  I really do think that this experience taught me so much-- gratitude for my hearing, for starters.  Humility? Definitely. (Perhaps it also taught my parents patience when I would say "what?" fifty times to their questions... haha). Beyond that, as the water more frequently trapped behind my eardrums caused gymnastics and cheerleading to become more and more challenging, I was forced to reach out and experiment with new talents! Only then did I discover my love for musical performance; as well as focusing more on my passion for writing.  
     ...And then somehow, when I got older, things started getting a lot better.  Doctors said I was all clear to head off to BYU-Hawaii, where I would sometimes go every day to the beach, and could snorkel just as deep as my lung capacity allowed.  

I haven't had an ear infection nor hindering from hearing loss in years.  I can hear and learn just fine in a classroom setting.  I can sing and harmonize as I please! 
       Sometimes when life gives us lemons, a shortage of sugar makes it hard to make lemonade.  But let us be positive and find the sweet blessings in our life. I hope that, despite our challenges, we can be open to learn and grow because God's plan for us in this mortal life and the one to come is so much greater than we can comprehend!


    Sister Lundgreen

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