It was a wet cold spring evening in Ukraine.
I was serving as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I had been out for three months at the time that Mother’s Day came around; one of only two days in the calendar year that I got to speak with my family.
While I had been having a tough time, I didn’t tell anyone or even admit it to myself.
I was tired.
I picked up the phone, dialed the familiar numbers to home and waited without a breath for the other end to pick up–I didn’t want to even miss one second.
The phone answered and…it was mom.
We spoke for almost an hour and then hearing the worry in my voice, it was mom who asked me if I was okay.
I could hold it in from my companion, from those I was serving in Ukraine and I could even hold it in from myself…but not from mom.
I broke down. My weaknesses and desperation burst from my lips as the barrier to honesty was shattered. I was beyond distraught. I just knew that I was failing.
Nothing could comfort me…except mom.
She heard me out and then gave me advice that changed my mission and my life. She said, “Zack, even in the Lord’s vineyard, you need to take time to stop and smell the roses. Don’t be so concerned about all that is going wrong that you forget what this is all about…just to look at the stars.”
And so I did.
It was mom who helped me to raise my vision from my problems to my potential, from the mundane to the magnificent, from the bitter to the better.
It was mom who helped me to walk once again.
It was mom who gave me life once again.
It was mom who cried with me once again.
That night I looked at the stars and I understood why my mom gave me that advice. For you see, I saw.
I saw the candles of divinity burning millions of light years away. I saw tiny little blips in the dark sky, which in reality constituted galaxies. But most importantly, I saw that somewhere out there, a loving God knew me and gave me a mom with whom He could share that love.
Ah, a simple phone call was all I had, but mom was all I needed.
So thank you, mother, for your kindness, example and love.
It was you who taught me that everyone is important.
It was you who showed me how to care when inconvenient.
It was you who gave my vision perspective.
From the moment I was born to the phone call in Ukraine to my fingers typing these very words–I know that forever I have a mother who will set my sights on the stars and my eyes on the prize.
There’s a reason my life is so wonderful…#itsmom.