Peace and love to you all.
If any of you have loved ones who gave their lives for our country, please remember them today and how much they meant to you.
My family is also using today to remember my dad. Though he never served in the military, he moved around a lot as the son of an Air Force officer. He always spoke with pride about the service my Grandpa Roger gave and regaled us with stories of the different bases on which he and his siblings lived. Living that life was always something he looked back on fondly.
We're trying to do the same for him this weekend. We grilled steaks and smoked pulled pork. We drank wine and went for walks in the beautiful weather. We did the things that we wish we could still do with him, even though that's no longer possible.
It's hard. It's been a day of tears, especially for my mom, as she goes through his drawers and puts things away. But it's a necessary process. So, there will be tears and laughter and we will continue to be here.
All we can hope is that the friggin' hail doesn't hurt the red car this evening.
I'll leave you today with my hope and fondest wish that you think back in happiness on those you have lost. As long as we remember them, they are never truly gone.
Thanks be to God.
Peace and love to you all.
Apologies yet again for the time between posts, but we have been doing what we can to live our lives. The weather has finally gotten nicer - after far, far too long a winter - so we have been spending more time outside doing different things. Activities like getting flowers with Mom (a task that Dad once managed that has now fallen to me), smoking meats (we have thus far done a couple of chickens and a fantastic pork belly), and simply cleaning up around the yard and enjoying the sun and cool breeze have been on the menu for once. At times, we may even laugh and joke around and all of that. Moments of joy.
There are other moments as well, of course. Yesterday, our Siamese cat Thor got a burn in his saddle, so to speak, and was running around the house, begging for attention. When I tried to pet him, he ran away and baited me further - a common game for our cats - before running into the office. I followed him and watched him walk around the chair there and it felt like a punch in the gut. See, the office is where Dad used to spend the majority of his time, either when he was working or when he was retired, and the cats winding around his legs was commonplace, especially when I would go upstairs to check in and see what was going on with him. Those conversations could be quick or could last a little while as we talked about whatever came to mind. Those little chats became a regular part of my life and something that I was used to experiencing. And now...well, I will not have one of those chats ever again.
It took the wind out of my sails, to be completely honest. That he is gone still doesn't quite seem real sometimes and that unreality can help with simply making it through the days. So, then, when a blunt force reminder hits you, it can be staggering. I know Mom and Adam are dealing with those as well.
Yet, we're here. We're together. I recently made a career-related decision that keeps me here and together with them for now and I don't regret it. We're taking it by the day and trying to find those moments of joy and happiness and peace in the middle of Everything Else.
I'll leave you today with a verse and the hope that the moments of happiness come for you and for us like rain in springtime.
"To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified."
Peace and love to you all.
It's been a couple of weeks since I last wrote, I know, but truth be told, there's not a lot going on right now. We're working, we're eating relatively healthily, and we're simply surviving. Notice I didn't say 'living' because, frankly, right now it doesn't feel like we are. We go about our day to day lives with relative normalcy, but there is a hole that is never going to be filled and we are having to figure out how to maneuver around it simply to get through the day sometimes. We've packed some things away. Clothes and the like. It's too tough to look at sometimes. We haven't gotten a lot further than that, but it's something.
We're all just tired. Tired of things coming up. The aftermath from Dad's passing and subsequent gnarls of bureaucracy we've had to try to untangle. Car issues. Private medical concerns. The weather being gray and gross and rainy and the kind of dreary that just sucks the life out of your bones to the point you only want to stay inside, curl up in a blanket, and forget that the world exists for a while.
I made the joke a couple of days ago that I wondered if we had upset some sacred burial ground or something recently, given the extreme spate of unpleasantness we've gone through over the past two months, but it's of course just that: a joke. We aren't being punished. We aren't being tormented. It's simply life being life and having to deal with all of it. That does not, however, mean it does not suck.
Where does that leave us? Well, I'm going to try to get back to doing this more often, but I make no promises. What I can say, at least for myself, is this: I am ready to see some light in our lives.
I'll leave you with a Bible verse and the hope that May brings that light to us.
For it is you who light my lamp; the Lord my God lightens my darkness.
After 43 years of ministry, Randy Cross lived his "fourth life" and shared about retirement, living boldly and intentionally in our world. To be sure, there was some North Dakota thrown in.