Friday- three days before I was due to fly out and I found myself in the hospital. I still believed with all my heart that I would be getting on that plane. I even believed that breaking my thumb was a trial I would have for my first week in the Philippines.
Suddenly, I wanted to be home. Not because I didn't want to be a missionary- I had never wanted to be a missionary more in my life. I wanted my mom.
We waited for 45 mins in the crowded waiting room of the hand specialist office. Everyone stared at me. Who was this missionary with the broken thumb? A few people asked me about it and when I told them I was meant to leave in three days, I could see the doubt in their eyes. Finally, I was called back. The doctor's PA came almost immediately.
I will never forget the first words he said. There was no build-up or ease-in. He simply walked in and told me, "You're break is pretty serious. We will need to keep you here for the next two weeks."
I didn't need a moment to let it all sink in. The words "two weeks" struck hard at my soul. To my surprise, and probably to the PA's, I immediately started sobbing. He told me that he was sorry, and then began to ask me questions. I literally couldn't speak. My heart was lodged in my throat. My kasama had to answer all the questions for me, while I sobbed into the only available cloth-a paper towel. He left and I continued to cry, my kasama sitting silent. Everything I had hoped for all of my life, everything that I had been preparing for for 4 months, and everything I had worked for for 6 weeks, had been yanked out of my life.
He came back in and with him, more doom.
"I've talked to the doctor and he wants to do surgery. You'll have to be here for 6 weeks and we'll schedule your surgery for next week, is that okay?"
I had never been more aware of my adulthood than in than moment. No longer was it up to my mom if I was going to let this stranger operate on me. It was my choice now and I had to make it -now.
I said the quickest, and one of the most sincere prayers of my life. "Help me know what to do." Instantly, I felt the answer. I needed to let them do surgery. It was in God's plan that I stay behind.
I consented, still crying. He left and I sobbed harder. I grabbed more and more paper towels.
After what felt like five minutes, my kasama said "Remember the scripture Proverbs 3:5? Trust in the Lord and lean not unto thine own understanding."
I actually stopped crying. The peace that only comes from our Savior- his compassion, love, and understanding mended my broken heart. The words echoed in my head. "Trust in the lord... and lean not to thine own understanding."
The real doctor came in and gave the final verdict. It would be 10 weeks and I would have surgery on this coming Wednesday.
We went into another room so he could wrap it and I got the first glance at myself. My eyes were red and swollen, my face as puffy as a marsh mellow. At first I was embarrassed and I tried to fix it. But then the thought entered my mind, "What if I wasn't crying? What would that say about my desire to be a missionary?"
The nurse wrapped it in the most secure bandage yet and in a few minutes we were back on the bus to the MTC. Tears swam in my eyes the entire way back, blurring my vision completely. My kasama chatted with the sisters behind us as if I had only been at the doctors for a cold. I couldn't speak. I knew if I did, it would open the flood-gates.
We went to the MTC doctor to report what had happened. He informed me that I would have to be released and sent home for the 10 weeks. As expected, I sobbed again. Being released was just about the worst thing I could imagine. He sent me over to the district president, who was in charge of finishing out my sentence. When I finally got in, I begged the district president through to allow me to stay at the MTC.
"Sister Beaumont, you'd only be spinning your wheels here. You need to go home, where you can learn and progress further." He said.
He told me I was free to go and that they would call me down as soon as they got a hold of my parents. I left, dreading the moment I would have to face my district and give them the news. It was sooner than I expected.Five minutes later, as we were walking in to the main building they were walking out. It was break time for in-field orientation, which they had been at all day.
With tears rolling down my cheeks, I told them the final decision. In that moment, I felt disconnected. Here was 11 new missionaries, ready to brace the Philippines and I stood apart- setting off for home. I expected them to make judgments or speculate on why I Heavenly Father was allowing me to be released this close to the finish line. I was surprised instead by Sister Williams who immediately said, "Wow, they must really need you at home!"
I realized that I had done nothing wrong and that this was God's plan for me. I promised myself that I would make it back out to the Philippines, that I would use my time at home to further build God's Kingdom, and that above all else I would trust in the Lord.
|Broken thumb comparison. Broken thumb is the one on the right.|