Okay, so now that I have him home, I go in and out of thinking that he never left. It is strange. I think back on the last 7 months and it is all a blur. And yet, in some ways, I don't really feel like he is home, either. The pick up at the airport was priceless. I surprised the boys by telling them we were going to pick up their Aunt Emily, who was coming for a quick visit after her finals. Yes, it was an outright lie. I'm okay with that. So, when their dad came around the corner of the gate (there is only one in Fayetteville's airport), they did not see him at all. I had to call their attention to him and when I finally got them to look, it seemed like they were looking right through him-- as though it was one of those images on Star Wars-- you know, holograms-- or whatever they are called. Finally, they accepted that it WAS in fact their father, and all bets were off. Sam jumped up into his arms and suctioned himself to Daddy. Isaac started bawling and wrapped his arms around Tony's waist, and Wyatt just kept hugging him and pulling back and asking questions-- imagine that :). I'm glad I could pull off the surprise. Sometimes I think that I'm an "all work and no play" sorta mom. Militant about chores, good routines, schoolwork, etc. My husband calls me "The Warden". That's not a fun name. I forget to turn tense moments into funny moments a lot of times and sometimes I forget to smile and just not be on a mission-- whatever the mission of the moment is. So, I'm happy that I could surprise them in this very important moment of their lives-- reuniting with their daddy.
A friend of ours asked us the other day if now that we've had this time apart and had to go through an extended period of separation, if we learned anything major or realized any new, marriage-altering truths or made any new committments to one another. That is a loaded question and not one easy to answer. Both of us just sorta stood there awkwardly silent... ummm... well... Even after a couple days to process the question, we still don't really have an answer. I don't know why, either. I guess you would think we should-- but why? Our whole marriage has been one new experience, adjustment, challenge-- call it whatever you want-- after another. Aren't most people's? And with each challenge, we seem to come out on the other side understanding one another, our marriage and our family in some deeper way. Not that WE are able to do that-- but God just seems to cause the hard things to work out for His good and His glory. And it isn't something that we realize while we're in the season, or even right after the season. It is a slow recognition over time and distance away from the event that God used to refine us.
I guess if there is one thing that keeps coming to my mind, it is to not waste time. So much of my time can get eaten away in that which does not matter in the least. Or, my own selfishness or fears can keep me from fully living the life God has intended-- and this wastes time as well. And what is sacrificed in the time-wasting is everything that matters and is eternal-- relationships, talents, love, wholeness, God's kingdom coming through our sacrifices, etc. It is the hardest thing ever-- knowing how to invest the gifts God has bestowed... time, talents, resources, relationships. And there is only this one life, only this one chance and only the people He has placed most intimately in my life-- starting with my husband-- NOT for MY benefit, but so that they will experience God's eternal, life-giving love through the love with which I love them. This is a weighty proposition.
The other part of this awareness to not waste time, is the fear that we will trade in God's glorious riches for treasures here on earth-- not even meaning to, or consciously-- but just wasting opportunities to be "salt" and "light". And, I'm not talking about signing up for and organizing all the latest, greatest "ministry" opportunities or being a part of the newest "vision" either. I'm talking about the every day choices I/we make-- to either choose God's heart on a particular matter... or not.
Each day removed from deployment season has it's own set of ups and downs. Sounds like life to me :) Fortunately the honeymoon didn't last long-- Tony and I have already had a couple little quibbles. Which is fine-- because then we have to make-out... I mean "up". :) He has had to ease into time with the boys. Seven months with only grown ups can put a shock to your system when you come home to three raucuous boys! And as far as my dream state... well, I'm glad deployment wasn't a dream. I have a feeling that the further out we get, the more I will be able to see God's sweet work once again.
Grace and Peace!
PS... Stay tuned on the 20th for news of our court!!!!!! Please pray for our family to find favor with the judge and for Joshua B. and Rebekah S. to legally become members of Team D.!!!!!