Last week I told a story about the hard road Jessie traveled in order to quit her smoking habit. I ended the story just a little earlier than most missionaries do–she hadn’t quite been baptized yet.
But life goes on, trespassing the bounds even of the most inspiring of stories.
Jessie did get baptized, and it was the highlight of my mission to that point. My companion and I had worked long and hard with her. We’d brought her children to terrorize the primary. We’d managed to mollify her husband to the point where he sat in on a discussion or two, telling us about a news story reporting on a man who had added a dubious ingredient to McDonald’s Big Mac sauce.
When Jessie finally hit the water I hoped that her soul would find some rest—and I suppose there might have been a bit of a lull—but life has a way of going on, of piling difficulties and worries on even (sometimes especially) those already most bowed down. An avalanche of minutia can destroy a soul already barraged by the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. And that’s what started to happen when I moved on to my next area. But I had faith Jessie would pull through, partially because the companion I left behind was as dedicated to her as I was.
But I heard very little about her, though I asked around, until the end of my mission. The missionary I finally talked with said that he had actually taught Jessie’s husband a few discussions. Apparently he was looking for some kind of stable ground after his wife had gone nuts and left him and the children, running off to London, Ontario.
It was a pretty crappy thing to hear at the end of my mission. I was spending a lot of time thinking what I may or may not have accomplished during my two years, and suddenly one of the most important periods of my mission seemed meaningless. What is the meaning of a conversion that lasts only a year or so?
I had a dream a few months ago that I was back in Belleville. The dream tried to follow a pre-scripted path, but the idea of being in Belleville woke something in me and I waded against the dream’s current searching for Jessie.
Evidently, I’m still looking for the next part of her story.