I threw myself a birthday party last night and invited a couple of friends over to help me celebrate. It was a lot of fun. I’ll have pictures up later.
I now live about an hour from my best friend from college. She and her family live in Wilcox. Tucson is the big city they have to come to when they want anything. She is 7 months older than me. How we met is a fun story in coincidences for another time.
She left on her LDS mission to Texas in January of 1999. I left on mine to Brasil in October of 1999, half way through hers. We wrote each other weekly for the whole 27 months that at least one of us was serving a mission. For her birthday after I got back I compiled all 100+ letters she had written me into a binder for her to have and gave that to her.
Last night she gave me a binder with all the letters I wrote her. I spent an hour or so flipping through it and reading bits and pieces. There’s the letter I wrote when our dog, Fred, died. I cried again missing him. When I got to the MTC I sent her a quick note telling her what my missionary name tag said, and that I could almost say it. That made me smile. I enjoyed seeing my English get real bad from one end of the binder to the other as I’d been speaking Portuguese for longer and longer. And the letter I sent her when the hurricane hit where she was in Texas, that made me laugh. Talk about funny coincidences.
From the time I was 11 until I started my mission I wrote daily in a journal. Parts of that are lost as I kept my journal on the computer for a while and that computer crashed. But I have a very good record of my life for those 10 years. While I was in Brasil though, I did not do well at all at keeping a journal. The best record I have of my time there is the letters I wrote to my mission president, my family, and my friend. Without those letters, many of the things I did, many of the lessons I learned, would be lost.
There is a word in Portuguese – lembranÃ§a. It means a remembrance, a souvenir, a memory. There are objects in my life that act as lembranÃ§as. They remind me of other things I have done. Gifts that are lembranÃ§as have thought and meaning to them that serve as a reminder of other things. It is an object that stands in place of the memory.
The best gifts aren’t necessarily things. Memories, lembranÃ§as, are the best gifts. And I have some wonderful ones in my life. I’m so glad I recorded so many of them somewhere.