The blog’s been on hold while I’ve been traveling for the past couple of weeks. I’m back, and there’s a lot to talk about.
It was my first time back to the place Bill and I spent most of our married life and raised our kids since my move. Even though the reason for the trip was a happy occasion and there were lots of things I was looking forward to, there was an undercurrent of apprehension amid the anticipation.
Thoughts of Thomas Wolfe’s novel You Can’t Go Home Again rattled around in my head, prompting questions in the days leading up to the trip.
Would I be able to enjoy anything or was this going to be just one emotional land mine after another? What would I do if I discovered, once I got there, that moving had been a colossal mistake?
Yes. And no. And no.
There were some painful moments – seeing the farm and going to the cemetery – and one land mine.
When I moved, I didn’t just change addresses; I changed time zones and climates. I moved from central time to eastern, traded the four seasons of the Midwest for the eternal summer of the tropics.
I hadn’t experienced the scent of corn pollen hanging in the air since Bill died, nor had I ever once thought about it. But with one whiff I was instantly transported back to those agonizing days, weeping, like Rachel, over everything in my life that is no more, my heart shattered all over again.
The pain was raw and real, but I did not wind up stuck in it.
I was able to face what was there, and even in the midst of it, to experience happy things, things I’m so grateful for. It was so good to see my sister-in-law (who is a sister to me) and brother-in-law, my nieces, nephews and cousin, dear friends, and to celebrate my great-niece’s wedding.
My granddaughter’s dog is still at the farm, and, after her usual barking jag, Betsy recognized Molly and allowed us to pet her. There was a priceless visit with my son-in-law’s grandmother, who, at 91, is still sharp as a tack and can do math in her head faster – and more accurately – than I can. Time on the beach in St. Augustine as we made our way back home fed my spirit and restored my soul.
I’d been afraid grief and death would be all I saw and felt. Not so.
As I uploaded the photos from my phone to the desktop and scrolled through them on Monday afternoon, Cicero’s words from eons ago popped into my mind: “Where there’s life, there’s hope.”
The photos are a tangible, visible record of things that speak life to me, and within each image I can see hope: thriving crops, in spite of a horrific growing season. Family and friends gathered from across the miles – some from as far away as Germany – to celebrate the joining together of a new family. Love splashed across multiple generations. Reconnection and the rekindling of relationships. The glorious beauty of Creation.
Look around, Dear Reader. Where do you see life and hope today?