I was hug deprived BEFORE the church emails us to elbow bump. And now, the governor has asked that no meetings over 250 are held. So no church for the next two weeks at least. I understand the precautions. But I was desperate for people in my grief BEFORE all this happened!
I felt isolated BEFORE they started shutting down schools and canceling rodeos and parades and hiding in houses.
I was worried about who would take care of me if I got sick BEFORE surmounting paranoia and panic.
And I’ve honestly been telling people that I can’t handle all the legal and police stuff I have to deal with surrounding my husband’s death because I can’t even keep toilet paper stocked in my house BEFORE there was no toilet paper to even buy in the store or on Amazon.
And we are in the 6-8 months after window when children really begin to melt down and finally express their grief. It’s like their minds JUST realized that daddy really is not coming home. And as a military wife, I have been through deployment. So at about 7 and half months, I catch myself looking out the window at the front door. I think, “Ok. It’s been 7 and a half months. He should be coming home any day now.” And I keep his beer in the fridge still because he’s definitely going to want a cold milk stout when he comes home to me.
We are still slowly getting our belongings from the military storage unit. So I’m in the middle of unpacking boxes. Today, I let my youngest find all the “surprises” in the box next to me so I could keep writing and she could have something to do. She unearthed several gifts that were given to us as wedding gifts. It all comes flashing back.
Did you know that the very chapel we got married in was the exact same place they held his military memorial? 3 moves later and I’m right back where I began. Except everything is different. I walked down the same aisle. Instead of holding my dad’s arm and dressed in white with Dan crying at the altar, waiting to hold my hand… Now it was a Colonel holding my arm and everyone’s dressed in black and I’m crying walking up to the altar. The same altar where we took off each other’s shoes and washed each other’s feet is now the same altar where they have his boots on display with the flowers and the coins. I cannot believe this is happening. Til death do us part.
And I think of the 4k people who just had to experience their own personal “til death do us part”s.
Right when everything felt like the crushing could not get any more painful, then the whole world lost its ever lovin’ mind.
And I find myself briefly losing mine too. Somehow, it keeps coming back to me though. I have found the secret to trusting God and not being afraid. That doesn’t mean I don’t feel the fear seldomly, but it sincerely doesn’t own me and it’s affliction is brief and momentary. Then I come back to the Father.
So with my anniversary coming up very soon, I knew I needed to have a plan to be with friends.
I didn’t think the spa or a fancy dinner felt appropriate. I didn’t want to host a dinner party either. I didn’t want to veg and watch a movie and eat frozen pizza either.
The ONLY idea that kept coming back to my mind was to go to the junkyard.
That’s not a symbol of my marriage. Heaven’s no. I had one of those dreamy marriages. We learned how to fight in healthy ways. We learned how to forgive. We learned how to dance and romance. We learned how to submit to each other. And we prayed together and fought for each other. It was a dream.
So why the junkyard? Honestly. I don’t quite know yet. But when an idea as far out as that comes to mind, I just trust its probably a God-idea.
So I called up my friend who gets parts there for the truck and asked for company. I didn’t want to be alone …and I didn’t want to be alone! Another good friend is lined up to watch the girls. I want to do something I have never done before.
It’s strange that the thought makes me smile… I’m going to the junkyard.
My great grandpa loved to dumpster dive, even into his nineties. He’d bring his treasures home for great grandma to clean them up. I still have the trophy that he brought home. A tiny plastic trophy from the 50s. One man’s junk is LITERALLY another little girl’s treasure. And great grandpa’s memory and loving kindness are now symbolized in that little silvery and pink treasure.
I suppose if we have to walk through all this junk, I feel like there has to be beauty to be found in the midst of it, right?
And I figure it’s pretty plain to see. If I’m looking for a picture of redemption, I’m not going to find it in the spa or fancy restaurant. But I’m most certainly going to find it in the junkyard.
Lord, would you go before me and leave some treasures for me to find in the middle of all this junk? Thank you for a friend to go with. Thank you that I’m not alone. Thank you that there’s another in the fire. Thank you for this strange hope of redemption that I feel. Birth songs in us. Birth prayers. Make music and let it rise up out of the ashes.
To be continued…