Monday, September 8, 2008

A Blast from the Past

In 1989, (this is soooo going to age me) I served a volunter mission for my church 'The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints'. I was called to the Canada Winnipeg Mission. At the time, it was the largest land size mission in the world. We covered Saskatchewan, Manitoba and half of Ontario (over past Thunder Bay to Marathon). We also covered the Northwest Territories (the farthest North anyone ever served was Churchill) It's the Northwest Territories that gave us the claim to the largest land size mission in the world for our church. (Miranda, I added all of that extra detail for you :) being that you live in Canada and may know the towns I speak of).

Anyways, I made a lot of friends while there. In fact, I met my husband there and we've been married over 18 years but that is a fascinating, unbelievable story that if you are lucky I will share one day with you. Just not today.

So, back to my story...hmmm...where was I?

Oh yeah, friends...there were some Elders (19-21 yr. old young men) who I constantly served around; Flake, Jensen, Roland and Pack to just name a few. This is a story about Pack that happened after my mission was over.

It's early February, I've been home for two months. A gang of us has gathered down in Provo, Utah at BYU for a little get together. I'm leaving the next day to meet up with Elder Bennett from the mission in Marietta, Ga. I'm sooooo nervous. I know that things may move quickly between us and I'm not quite prepared. You see, I'd managed to get to this age without ever having kissed a boy on my terms (it's a short story that will never be told-it happened when I was 15 and scarred me till adulthood). Somehow in this group that evening it came out that I was not prepared to kiss a boy- and I'd better be prepared because my future with Elder Bennett depended on it.

Pack being the ever so helpful genuine friend that he was said "that will not do! I'll teach you how to kiss." (liberty taken with exact wording here -I think that I actually asked Pack to help me with this difficult situation not the other way around)

Now, just For Your Information, Pack is the most non-threatening individual I've ever met. He has the ability to extinguish any difficult situation just by being so laid back and easy going. It was amazing to watch what would happen when he would enter a room. Everyone would just chill (for all you Twilighters, he's a real life Jasper). So...back to the "I'll teach you..."

I thought to myself "If anyone can do this, (get me over my horror and fear and tendency to punch anyone who trys to kiss me) Pack can. I trust him. I'm just Sister J. to him and he won't hurt me". So, I agreed and we stepped into a back bedroom. (That sounds so incredibly scandalous-what good mormon girl goes into a back bedroom with a boy? Hmm?!)

So...Packs instructions are "Close your eyes, part your lips just a little bit and relax."

So, I close my eyes and in trying to part my lips a little bit begin giggling. I can giggle I tell you. Sometimes it's quite hard for me to stop giggling.

Pack is saying "This is not helping. You cannot giggle. He won't know what to do with that. Don't giggle."

So, we try again. I giggle again. Lecture again. Try again. Giggle again. Lecture again. Do you see the pattern? I'm pretty sure that went on for a good 20 minutes.

Finally, Pack said "Chari, you're safe. Nothing bad is going to happen. Stop giggling".

So I stopped giggling. I closed my eyes, parted my lips just a little bit and focused on not giggling. Pack kissed me. It was very sweet and not scary and nothing bad happened to me. In fact it was lovely.

Pack said "That was pretty good. Way to go on not giggling. This time relax". I focused intently on all of those instructions. The second kiss was easier. On the third kiss, it was my turn to initiate. After another giggling fit I took a deep breath, tried to not cry, leaned in, closed my eyes and gave a simple, slightly lingering kiss to Pack.

I can't begin to tell you how I felt. I did it! I overcame a horror from my earlier years and was blessed to have a dear friend who sincerely helped me. I was all of a sudden OK! Just like that. I was OK!

Pack said that I was ready and I would be fine in Georgia. I had a sweet sensation the rest of the evening. Kissing was lovely.

There are so many benefits to having friends I tell ya!

A couple days later in Georgia, I saw the signs of a first kiss coming. So, I closed my eyes, parted my lips just a bit, relaxed and heard Brett Pack yelling in my brain 'Do not Giggle'. So, I did not giggle. It must have gone well because we were married 7 weeks later.

When I think about it? Brett Pack can take full responsibility for the success of this marriage.
(I occassionally hear him saying 'don't giggle') Thanks Brett!


Whitney and Allen Bennett said...

Chari that was such a cute story. I loved reading it. I had no idea you two were married within 7 weeks of your first kiss. Those stories like that always amaze me. You always amaze me! :)

Chari said...

I love you too Whitney!

Rebecca said...

I am laughing out loud. That is a good story. awkward for me though given that the elders live here and they are in the next room asking me why i am laughing. i don't think it is the story to tell to two currently serving missionaries, right? i love this story though. i once had a friend who was concerned that i would go a full year without kissing anyone (after my now husband broke my heart). he promised he'd save me from such tragedy, but thankfully that wasn't necessary, because i think it would have been a giggle fest for me as well. that's so funny, you are a good writer, thanks!

Chari said...

Thanks for the writing compliment Rebecca! I'm glad it made you laugh as much as it was making me laugh while writing it. Wow! Try saying that 3 times fast.

steffenboysmom said...

I loved the story too! What an awesome friend you have! I would like to know more about your composing as I write songs...