Sunday, October 13, 2013

10/13/1993 - The end of the mission

Twenty years ago today was my last proselytizing day as an LDS missionary. On Oct. 14, I was taken to the mission home, and the day after that, I was handed over to my parents, who had come down to the Dominican Republic to pick me up.

When I started this "looking back 20 years" series of what were supposed to be monthly posts, I was hoping to reconnect with the Dominican Republic--the contemporary Dominican Republic, not my nostalgic memories of the Dominican Republic. I wanted to do that out of a sense of guilt. Guilt that I connected with all these people, I lived in this country, this culture, and the experience impacted me very deeply, at least I feel like it did--but at the end of the day, was that just a kind of extended spiritual tourism? Was it ultimately an exercise in narcissism posing as concern for people in the Third World?

Yeah. Yeah it was. I mean, it may not have been exclusively that; I trust--I have to trust--that there are redeeming or redeemable aspects to the experience. But, yeah. It was very much about me, and the connections I've continued to feel for the Dominican Republic are very much about me. That's why in the end, this series petered out. My spiritual engagement ended up flowing in other directions over these past couple of years, and the Dominican experience stopped being so meaningful.

This is not good. This is very icky. I am not proud of myself in this moment.

And that's the end of my 20th-anniversary series of mission reflections. S**t.

Other posts in this series: 
5/12/1993 - Safety in the Dominican Republic
4/7/1993 - Alma Rosa
2/3/1993 - Ensanche Espaillat
9/30/1992 - La Milagrosa
8/12/1992 - A year after the call
7/1/1992 - FEDOPO
5/6/1992 - Guaricano
4/1/1992 - First day in Guaricano
2/5/1992 - The Zona Franca
12/4/1991 - La Romana
11/6/1991 - My first day in the Dominican Republic
10/9/1991 - Entered the MTC
9/4/1991 - Waiting to serve
8/1/1991 - Mission call