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Friday, May 05, 2006 

You can't always get what you want...but you can get anything you want at Alice's restaurant

At one point on my mission, 4 missionaries lived in an apartment which was roughly 2/3 the size of my living room. I was one of those missionaries. Elder Miles, our district leader, lived there, too. Okay, the whole district was in there.

One day, Elder Miles was on splits with the local Zone leader (whose name I cannot recall). While they were out, they stopped in a local shop. I should tell you that we were in Russia (post-Soviet) and that our missionary funds were excessive for the area in which we lived. Instead of packing up and shipping out excess funds each month, as I am sure we would have done if we were more socially conscious, we bought a lot of frozen pizza. The funny thing about the frozen pizza, was that it was often Scandanavian in origin. So, we were unable to read the boxes. Nonetheless, we had a good idea about what was on individual frozen pizzas because the good people in Scandanavia shipped their pizzas in brightly colored boxes that featured pictures on the pizzas inside. Cheese, pepperoni, and supreme pizzas were easy to spot and eaten often.

On this particular day, Elder Miles and the Zone leader were flipping through the pizzas in the freezer in much the same manner that one would flip through LPs in a record store. Suddenly, they stopped. They marvelled at what their eyes beheld. It was a Hawaiian pizza. There was the pineapple. There was the ham. Perhaps they thought it odd that this distinctly American pizza had made it into Russia, via Scandanavia, but they didn't care. It was a taste of home. It was bought and it was to be quickly consumed, before the other elders in the tiny apartment (including me) got home.

I should say that Russia, at this point, was on the cusp of its current craziness. Yeltsin was still in power, drinking himself into irrelevance. The area in which we worked was dominated by Mafioso (hence the upscales stores with frozen pizzas). So, while it wasn't impossible to get American foodstuffs, it was rare and expensive. Missionaries went ga-ga over the stuff. I knew missionaries who bought out kiosks of cases of root beer (near 100 cans of the stuff). I personally combined funds with a companion to a buy store out completely of its accidentally acquired stock of canned chili (50 cans consumed in about 2 and 1/2 weeks). So, I did not begrudge them their find, as I likely would have done the same and I know that it would have been shared if there had been more than one pizza.

In any case, when I came home, I saw two of the most disconsolate missionaries I had ever seen. The pizza had been a mistake. You see, the pineapple, pictured on the box, had turned out to be pale celery. The juicy pink ham was actually salmon. Much more suited to the Scandanavian palatte, don't you think?

They were heartbroken. They could not bring themselves to eat it, or even look at it. My companion and I, however, were unburdened by false expections and, hey, free pizza is free pizza. It wasn't bad if you knew what it was.

I am sure that there is a lesson about religion somewhere in that. Our expectations often prevent us from enjoying blessings that come at us sideways. It is helpful to really understand what you are getting before you dig in. Though the pizza may not be to your taste, it doesn't mean that it is valueless as food. Finally, God loves a good joke. May he smile upon you, too.

Posted by HP

I love your mission story. Although I'm jealous of your generous stipend. We had to make do with $120/month in an economy with American prices.

Sometimes a pizza is just a pizza. You could make a whole story about salmon pizza. Not too appetizing to me.

I can read Russian, also speak and write it. Not well, but I can find a toilet in Moscow.

I read through 2nd Nephi, and something else caught my attention. I have "and it came to pass that I, Nephi" down pat. That, I can speak fluently.

It's an interesting experience, reading in another language. I paid more attention, because I read it about one word an hour.

Like the word to listen or hear, I can't remember. I read that word ten or twenty times one day.

Wow. Awesome story. I've had some experiences where, after the fact, and the disappointment, and very jarring realization that things weren't how I thought, or planned, or desired, where I ended up finding value and something good in the experience.

Then again, there's some experiences where you learn that you are allergic to the salmon on the pizza and the whole event just makes you really sick inside and hurts badly, to find out that things weren't the way you thought they were, they were worse (ie, finding out after 10 years that the family you married into thought for many of those years, most of them, that the hubby and daughter would be better off without me).

Some things are better off with the false perspective. This . . . . ripped my world apart and I am floundering. My ologist said, "So they basically voted you off the island?" And I was like, "Yeah . . .". And I was sobbing hard at the time.

Anyway, some "truths" shouldn't be revealed, some filters should not be corrected . . .

But aside from that type of horrible thing, the other types can be great learning experiences.

Here's to salmon pizza!!

To know that I was NOT WANTED, and this was up until very recently, and not only NOT WANTED but not ACCEPTED, not ACCEPTABLE . . .

I had thought, for the first time in my life, that I had found people who could accept me . . .

And now, I know, that there never was, never has been, and most likely never will be anyone, any group, anywhere, that can and will accept me for who I am, illnesses and all, even if they don't know the diagnoses. Do you know how deeply that HURTS? I believe in hell, now, because I am in it.

I am sorry for the threadjack, please, please, don't come down on me for this, I am well being one of those pathetic people I hate (see, I judge too lol) and going on and on inappropriately . . . I just . . . it hurts beyond anything I can describe.

Help.

Dangit, stupid tears.

All this time, I was being judged.

Sara, your in-laws suck. I am sorry you are having to deal with this. Good luck!

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This Week's Topic:

  • The Sabbath Day

Various Authors

  • Monday:
    Kaycee opted out of Mormondom 4 years ago. She calls herself agnostic.
  • Tuesday:
    Sarah is not your average Gospel Doctrine Teacher.
  • Wednesday:
    Carrie Ann comes from pioneer stock, and lives in Provo, but is open minded and fair.
  • Thursday:
    Ned Flanders hasn't been to church in a while, but maintains an interest in all things Mormon.
  • Friday:
    John C. is an academic with a sense of humor and a testimony.
  • Saturday:
    JP's not going to church and feeling okay about it.

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