Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Fwd: Letter #5/6 - 5/8/13

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Elizabeth Montgomery <>
Date: Wed, May 8, 2013 at 12:15 PM
Subject: Letter #5/6 - 5/8/13

Dear fam,
I'm alive! Would you like to hear the story of my week? I'll make it as dramatic as possible for your entertainment.
It all started last Monday. I was feeling miserable ALL day, and my misery culminated in throwing up that evening. The next day I slept in, felt half-way okay, but luckily had the bright idea to go see the doctor. We've become good friends by now with my sleeping problems and other illnesses, and when he walked in, I joked, "I can't wait until I don't have to see you anymore. I mean, you're nice and all, but seriously..." Well, I explained my symptoms to him, which apparently had FLU written all over them. He had a nurse come in a do a flu test -- a nasal swab in which she stuck a stick up my nostril so far I thought she was going to pull it out of my eye socket. 10 minutes later, the doc came back in with two Gatorades, flu medicine, and the directive that I was being transferred to Quarantine. Yes, Quarantine. Isolation. Solitary Confinement. The Whole Shebang. They put a mask on me, my companion escorted me to the classroom and my bedroom to collect my precious belongings, and then security escorted me to the Dungeons (technically the third floor of a random wing in 2M, but who's keeping track?) Directly after, they hauled my whole district to the health clinic to take the same flu medicine as a preventative measure.
I spent four long days in my prison cell, as I slowly etched the days into the wall with a plastic spoon. (K, just kidding, it was more shaped like a hotel room...) Security brought me my meals and mail three times a day, and the doctor came and checked on me once a day (wearing a mask to ensure that I still felt like a leper). On the second day, I was blessed again with human contact thanks to a sick roommate that joined me. I was so excited to pour my soul out to another living creature, but it turns out she was Japanese and didn't speak any English. Shoot. She stayed with me for two days, I was alone for half a day, and then Hermana Salas joined me (who did speak English) and pretty much saved my life. She was great. You'd think that I'd enjoy the solitude having been tied to a companion for a month straight prior to Isolation, but it was pretty lame.
Meanwhile, I was sick as a dog. For four days, I accomplished the following tasks: wrote letters for 2 hours, read scriptures for 2 hours, studied Russian for 1 hour, and... slept for the rest of the 96 hours. It was bad. Not gonna lie, I was really miserable. It's a good thing I couldn't write emails during that time because they would've been pretty down. BUT, the doctor finally let me out on Saturday on the grounds that "It's too depressing here. I think you need to get out." I wasn't contagious anymore, but I still felt pretty sick, so I spent all of that day AND Sunday resting. Slowly but surely, my health returned to me, I was back to work on Monday, feeling fairly normal on Tuesday (pshh, as if I'm normal...), and now I'm feeling great! And let me tell you... four days of being stuck in a room will REALLY make you grateful for the outside world. The flowers never looked so beautiful to me (they keep the MTC campus so pretty), and I remembered how much I loved and missed my district. AND I really missed productivity. Oh man, I'm so glad I'm feeling better again. If you're healthy right now, thank God for it... what a blessing.
Anyway, how is everyone doing? Mom, sorry but they don't let us call on Mother's Day! I wish I could, but I guess we'll just have to wait until Christmas. But... Happy Mother's Day to the best mother in the world! I have nothing to send you except my love, immense gratitude, and this really cute video: . Our district is kind of obsessed with Mormon Messages (especially the "Earthly Father, Heavenly Father" one). Hope you like it!
By the way, I'll be playing my Praise to the Man piece for the new missionary meeting this afternoon at 3:00. Wish me luck! (And thanks again, Mom, for forcing piano lessons on me earlier in life. So grateful!)
Well, before I clock back into my P-Day, allow me to share a little spiritual thought... This last week was really humbling. Like really. Not only did I lose my health for over a week, but during that long gap, I felt I lost a lot of my Russian skills, and I kind of forgot what it was like to be a missionary, and I was just really physically/mentally/spiritually "off." Thankfully I'm back "on" now, but it took awhile. I did a lot of wallowing in my weakness, and my pride kept me from turning my burdens over to Christ. But then I was reminded that in a weird way, that whole experience was an answer to one of my own prayers. Monday morning I was journaling about pride, and my last sentence was, "I pray that God may grant me the humility I'm so quick to forget." (I've heard that if you pray for patience, God blesses you with trials, but I didn't know praying for humility had the same result!)
Also in that entry, I came up with this image: "A man (representing my Father) carrying me as a little child on His back, climbing Mt. Everest. I'm not sure how far up we are, but I think when I start getting prideful and think about how far *I* have climbed, it's like that man disappears, and I'm left sitting in the snow, unable to progress and destined to freeze and die. And what's interesting is that the only thing that changed is my recognition of my Father's goodness and power. It's not a question of how I got that far up the mountain -- it's only a question of whether or not I realize and admit the truth of the situation: that I am nothing, and that I am destined to failure without my Father, and that all the progress that I have made and will make is because He has carried me.... When I think about myself as a little child stranded somewhere up Mt. Everest, it makes me cringe because it's incomplete. I don't WANT to stop there! There's so much further to go, so many lives to touch, so many more ways to be Christlike, so much I want to do that I can't do on my own! But the beautiful thing about that humble realization is that right in that moment, my Father reappears, and we continue upward." I feel like my week was a reminder of what life would be like without Him (more spiritually than physically, but I was weak in every way). I'm grateful that I've been humbled so that He has reappeared in my life even more strongly. I know that whenever we repent and change our lives to be more in accordance with His will, especially when we humble ourselves and recognized His greatness and our nothingness, He blesses us with His love and Spirit and capacities beyond our own means.
Alright, well I hope y'all have a great week! I'll be thinking of you on Sunday, Mom (even though I think about you every day anyway) :)
Sister Montgomery
PS - Thanks Nate for the Men's Chorus CD! I'm excited to listen to it out in the field. :)
PPS - Emily... you're almost here! Somehow we've got to find each other. If all else fails, come to choir the first Sunday you're here, and I'm usually in the first few rows of the altos (and plus, choir rocks -- it's one of my favorite parts of the week). Or my dorm room is 3M 407... Be excited!

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