This is my eldest child.
Isaac lives in Russia, in case you haven't been reading long, and has been for eight months.
He is 15.
My dear boy comes home to my arms in two weeks. People know that we are coming to the end of this experience and are anxious to celebrate with me. His father and I are asked about him all of the time.
Today was no exception; a friend asked about Isaac. "Two weeks!" I gushed, excitedly. Another woman, whom I had never met, asked for details. I briefly explained his ballet story and the honor of being invited to dance at the Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Moscow.
"15, huh? That's right at the same age my son went to Germany as an exchange student."
Then she got a kind of far off look in her eyes and said, "I can pin it all back to that year. That is the year he changed, and (looking back at me) not for the better."
My already feeble heart fumbled.
It's like telling a pregnant woman all about your pregnancy/labor horror stories!
There are so many worries pushing at the edges of my mind and I am constantly pushing them back--the civil unrest in the Ukraine, the frustrating relations between Americans and Russians, the low moral standards of some of his friends and associates, his academic pursuits, the demoralizing teaching style he has endured, the possibility of injury (we don't even entertain the possibility of death abroad), the fact that he is always hungry, and on and on ad nauseam.
But, most of all, I worry about his soul.
And this kind of interaction makes me mad because I trust my son,
and this stranger who knows neither me or Isaac, made me doubt him.
Not fair to either of us!
Feeling fragile and emotional, I called him up.
"Mom. First, let me reassure you. I went to church yesterday. I read my scriptures every day. I am watching General Conference addresses. I pray with my Heavenly Father constantly*. I'm making good choices."
He went on to add, "Whenever you are feeling worried about me, just pray, Mom! Talk with your Heavenly Father; He knows what is going on with me and He will let you know that all is alright."
Then I know that this little boy who stole my heart 15 years ago is growing into a man
worthy of the Priesthood he holds.
He is a man of God.
And nothing could make me happier.
*Parenthetically, I love the verbiage he used here. He didn't say he prays TO God, but that he prays WITH God. Yes, this difficult year without his earthly parents near has certainly drawn him closer to his Heavenly Father.