Sunday, January 5, 2014

Awkward and Old

I'm awkward and old.  That's nothing new to you.  But, I'll get to that in a minute.  First, a story.

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.  Wait, strike that.  It was in this galaxy, in the state of Wyoming.  But it was a long time ago, just under 13 years ago, in early 2001.  (Sorry, I had to do the galaxy far away thing.  Star Wars is playing on the TV right now.)

I was serving as a missionary for my church.  We were visiting a young family.  We were having some sort of gospel discussion.  I don't really remember the details of the discussion.  What I do remember is that this gospel discussion had way more nudity than most discussions on my mission.  As we were talking, the wife inexplicably lifted up her shirt and took off her bra.

I was really confused by this behavior.  You always hear stories from others about the strange things missionaries experience in other cultures.  But these stories usually come from people who went to places like Africa or South America.  I was in Wyoming.  As in, a state that borders my home state.

Nevertheless, there she was, removing her bra.  She was still wearing a shirt.  But since she had lifted the shirt above the bra area, the only function that shirt was serving was to cover her shoulders.  I don't think that shoulders are the primary body part that shirts are supposed to cover, particularly for women.

I looked at my companion.  He looked at me.

We had one of those conversations you have with your eyes.

Me:  I don't understand what's happening right now.

Companion:  My understanding is that she is removing her clothing.

Me:  I don't get it.

Companion:  She's doing what the kids call "letting it all hang out."

Me:  I'm confused.

Companion:  It's quite simple.  We're visiting with this nice couple, and the wife is topless.


This exchange continued for several seconds in much the same manner.  My companion was not able to help me better understand the situation, at least not through eye language.  I'm sure the husband caught the whole eye conversation because our eyes were definitely not whispering.  The wife, however, clearly did not catch any of it.  She was too busy removing her clothing.

Actual photo from that day
Note: This is before feet were invented
Once she made sure that everyone had seen what there was to see, the woman picked up her baby and began breast feeding.

The eye conversation continued.

Companion:  I knew that's what was happening the whole time.

Me:  I now understand what was happening.  However, I think she could have provided nutrition for her baby with a little less nudity.

So, that's my story.  But why do I share it now, nearly 13 years later?  And what does it have to do with me being old and awkward?

Well, today we met our new Sunday School class.  They're a bunch of cute kids.  But when I met them today, I was pondering how old they are.  They are all 12 turning 13 this year.  That means they were all born in 2001.

When I thought about that, I came to a terrible realization.  These kids are all the same age as the baby that was breast feeding in my story.  In fact, many of them are younger than that baby.

And that's when I felt old.  The baby in that story has remained a baby in my memory for nearly 13 years.  But then these preteens were sitting in front me and I was made very aware of the passage of time.  Then I was pondering my oldness, and this story couldn't leave my mind.  And then I felt really awkward, thinking about this story while I was in front of all our little precious 12 year olds.

And so you see, I'm awkward and old.


  1. you always have the best mission stories. And you are also awkward, and old. Love it!


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