The afternoon I came home from my mission I paused before the plaster cast goshawk on the buffet in our dining room. Something fierce, unrelenting, in its eyes held me. Exquisitely wrought, the bird looked as if it were alive. I was home seven months early; a medical situation had cropped up, and the doctors thought I should live near Salt Lake for remedial treatments. The decision to cut the mission short was mine. The oncologist in Portland assured me I would not die. He said the chemotherapy should be administered near home where I could rest and be watched over by our family doctor. The situation was, the doctor in Portland insisted, in remission. The specialist at the University of Utah said it would be better in the long run not to step into another missionary experience near home right off, maybe in a few months or more. So the decision to come home early had left me shaken.