Taking My Wand for a Nametag

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Chapter 69: "This Badge of Shame You'll Show Until You Die!"

This week's title comes from "Look Down" from Les Mis. Ironically fits a moment I had this week... you see, I'm going through a weird phase. A Les Mis phase. Not that this is anything new- I've belted these toons out with a lot of comps. Les Mis is one of my shower playlists, as lame as that sounds. Lately I've been using songs from it as my alarm clock to ensure I actually wake up on time.

Man, that came back to bite me in the butt, that's for sure.

So I set an alarm for something. I don't remember what it was for. Let's just say that, towards the end of sacrament meeting on Sunday, our ward was graced with the opening bars of "Look Down" on full-blast. I don't know if I've ever been scared that badly in my life, but just picture a serene sacrament meeting being rudely interrupted by singing salves and an awkward Smeds literally jumping out of fear. That sure woke everyone up. Go me for not peeing my skirt because it was a close call.

In better, less embarrassing news, we had a great scambio with the Montevarchi sorelle! I had tons of fun with Sorella Roseno, especially when we went to visit our old lady friend Ida haha. Her visits are always so interesting. We left and poor Sorella Roseno was like "Um..l I only understood like 20% of that" and I was like "eh, I'm at maybe 25% so all is well"

We also met with both Carolinas, and they're doing well! Summer is messin stuff up for us because everyone and their dog keeps going to the beach. All things considered, however, they're both doing really well. We also got to spend some time with some members. My favorite was an afternoon with the Ferrinis, the family I feel most at home with. Literally we spent half of lunch discussing all the Marvel things and it was seriously too good.

One super neat experience was coming across the Forni family. Sorella Forni is a member, but the rest of her family isn't. She has a husband, a 29 year-old son, and a 2 year-old daughter. They are all adorable. Well her family is basically Mormon but unbaptized. When you ask them about being members they say they "aren't believers" buuuut they are in church every Sunday, read the Book of Mormon as a family, do FHE and prayers, etc. Basically they are more active than a lot of our actual members. I had only maybe seen them twice before, because they spend a lot of time in Livorno visiting relatives. Even when in Livorno, however, they attend church. They are seriously too good. Well they invited us over for dinner after church on Sunday and it was one of the best experiences! Their fam is so cool, and I seriously had to keep reminding myself that they weren't actually members. During the lesson, they all participated, especially the son. It was all seriously so great, and they asked us to start doing family home evenings with them! 

We spent the first half of Pday up in Fiesole, just eating gelato in the Tuscan hills... last part was spent in the apartment with kebab because IT IS HOT AS HADES. Constantly in the 100s with awful humidity. Like even nightime trying to get to sleep, it's at least in the 90s. Also mosquitos are killing me. The tiger mosquitos have returned. I've been fighting back with windex- spraying the little jerks so their wings get wet and they fall to the fund. Then they crawl and it's creepy. And that's the story of why my comp keeps walking in on me climbing on top of furniture spraying windex everywhere. Fun times. Other things happened this week... but I just don't have enough brain power to keep writing... so here's two cool things that were floating through my mind this week!

1) The Bridge Builder: Completely by accident, I somehow found a random talk by President Monson from like 2003, and it was one of the most beautiful talks I'd read in a while. He starts by sharing this poem by Will Allen Dromgoole

An old man, going a lone highway,
Came at the evening, cold and gray,
To a chasm, vast and deep and wide,
Through which was flowing a sullen tide.
The old man crossed in the twilight dim;
The sullen stream had no fears for him;
But he turned when safe on the other side
And built a bridge to span the tide.

“Old man,” said a fellow pilgrim near,
“You are wasting strength with building here;
Your journey will end with the ending day;
You never again must pass this way;
You have crossed the chasm, deep and wide--
Why build you the bridge at the eventide?”

The builder lifted his old gray head:
“Good friend, in the path I have come,” he said,
“There followeth after me today
A throng whose feet must pass this way.
This chasm that has been naught to me
To that great throng may a pitfall be.
They, too, must cross in the twilight dim;
Good friend, I am building the bridge for them.”

He then discusses different "bridges" that Jesus Christ has built for us. Isn't that good stuff? I liked it a lot. Sometimes those chasms seem pretty big, and my legs are far too short to get myself across. So yeah, it was a good read. 10/10 would recommend.

2) Lessons from Les Mis: Well, some good has come out of listening to Les Mis this week, besides the unforgettable mistake during sacrament meeting. It's one of those stories that has a lot of awesome themes and ideas. One of the most well-known is the line used at the end, "To love another person is to see the face of God". I think about that line a lot as a missionary, and I love it because it's two-fold. On the one hand, we can have opportunities to see others as God sees them, and we feel His love for them. On the other hand, we can get to know God through loving others. It's such a neat principle. During our lesson with Carolina this week, we mentioned something about how much God loves her and wants to bless her. She responded that she honestly didn't know if He loved her, specifically. As she said that, I felt moved by the spirit to tell her that He did love her, and that I knew it because I could feel it. I can't describe it in words very well, but it was one of the coolest experiences. It's happened various times with people, being able to feel just an overwhelming sense of how much God loves them.

And I think it's safe to say it's a pretty huge amount of love ❤️ 

Even for those of us stupid enough to have "Look Down" play during church.

Sorella Smeds

1- Ferrini Family   2-Florence😍  3-Scambio  4 & 5-Elettra Forni❤️  6-10 Fiesole  11- I ❤️my city! 12- Windexing the mosquitos away:)





1- Ferrini Family   2-Florence😍  3-Scambio  4 & 5-Elettra Forni❤️  6-10 Fiesole  11- I ❤️my city! 12- Windexing the mosquitos away:)

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