Sleeping is not something I'm good at. At least not any more. I think I used to be, but that was a long time ago and I just don't remember. Last night was worse than usual because I had a lot of stuff to get done before catching my flight this morning. I also had a lot of stuff on my mind, which is always a sleepy-time deal breaker for me.
Arriving in Salt Lake City International Airport was made interesting because a couple Mormon missionaries were onboard. After having been away for two years with precious little communication with friends and family, there was quite a crowd waiting for them (as you might imagine). Posters and banners were on display, and a wave of cheers erupted as the missionaries descended on the escalator into the airport lobby.
It was a beautiful sight.
For the life of me I can't wrap my head around the commitment it takes for these kids... as young as 18... to give up everything and everybody they know so they can be sent to God-knows-where for two years of their lives. It's a leap of faith that boggles the mind. Many times, they're being sent to a foreign country where they won't even know the language. They're partnered up with somebody they barely know. They're given a near impossible task of converting the natives to a new religion. To this day I honestly can't decide if it's an adventure of a lifetime... or the height of insanity.
Luckily, I never had to find out personally.
But I have talked to Mormon friends and acquaintances who went on missions, and they all say it was the best time of their lives. A part of me is skeptical but, I'm here to tell you, the stories they have to tell are about as fascinating as you'll ever hear. The trials and tribulations of being a missionary for the Latter Day Saints may be rewarding, but it's also no picnic.
Which is why I'm always as nice as I can be when I encounter them in the wild (especially in foreign countries) or when they show up at my door. They've got it tough enough, and giving them a break is the least I can do.
I didn't hang around the airport and party with the missionaries since Marty was nice enough to pick me up so I could have dinner with him and his family. No offense to the Mormons, but Marty makes sure there's beer available when we party.