Adam came home Tuesday. We tracked his flight online from Santiago to Atlanta, and then when the plane was hovering over Kansas, we got in the car and headed to Salt Lake Airport to be there to greet him. We had red, white and blue balloons, the shared colors of Chile’s flag and our own. We had posters: We Love A D. We took Aunt Barb with us and gave her the video camera. Virginia, dear friend, came with her camera. We got to the baggage claim area about 30 minutes before the flight was to land. Touch down was close to on time, around 10:30. We took our places at the bottom of the escalator and tried to contain our excitement. My heart was pounding and I was trying not to cry from just waiting out the last few minutes. Barb went to the top of the escalator to capture on film the first sight of him. After everyone else on the flight came down, single file, we got a thumbs up from Barb–she spotted him! We could see him run to hug her and she deflected him to us–pointing him down the escalator to where we were waiting. She followed on the second escalator, filming his descent into our world and waiting arms.
I did the best I could to wait for him to reach the bottom, but I cried his name when he was half way down, and he ran down the rest of the moving steps into my arms. I couldn’t let go. His bags dropped at our feet and we clung to each other, in tears. Flesh to flesh, heart to heart, and I felt the warmth of his body once again. “I love you, Mom.” He kept saying it over and over. I have never felt such joy and completeness.
There are two thoughts that keep going through my mind since that moment. The first is the little Primary song, “We’re all together again, we’re here, we’re here.” As I watched Claire and Aaron and John embrace Adam, with tears streaming down their faces, the Spirit bore witness to me that Families are Meant to be Together. Events and circumstances may separate us from each other, but they cannot separate us in any permanent way. We are a family, bound and sealed to each other by covenant.
The other thought is that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is a Gospel of Gathering. We are meant to gather and be together. We gather in the lost, the lonely, the seekers. We gather family members. When we turn our hearts to Jesus, we are turning our hearts to those around us and those who came before us, and we do all we can to bring them in. Every single one.
I feel great comfort today as I contemplate our family’s place in the grand scheme of things. We’re all together again, we’re here, we’re here. We are gathered, at least for now. In coming months, Aaron will take his turn and we will send him off, happily, knowing that he will join that great army of laborers who are helping others gather their families together. And when he comes home two years later, I expect to feel again the joy I feel today. I don’t think I will ever forget this feeling.
I can envision our family, in some far Future Place, arm in arm, gathering with loved ones, as we smile and sing, “We’re All Together Again, We’re Here, We’re Here!” Truly Heaven!