Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Outside the Box

Jer retires from the USAF.  Aug. 2011
downtown Prattville.  Christmas 2006
     I am surrounded by boxes and the sound of packing tape.  "One last time, Lord.  One last time."  I am very tired.  I am not tired so much in my body, but in my spirit.  I am tired of leaving friends that I love, church families with whom I have bonded, neighbors I have befriended, schools which know and accept my children.  I am tired of learning my way around and wondering where to shop.  I am tired of leaving people and places which are a part of my life.
     "It's not very far; you can always come back and visit," they say with a sad smile.  Don't get me wrong; I can't resist that hopeful thought.  On the other hand, I am a seasoned mover.  I know that the day-to-day sharing of life with these people is over.  It cannot be recovered.  A visit will not make me feel better.  I know, with a sad sinking in my heart, that I am surrendering something which I will suffer without.  I am surrendering my happy life.  I will have to find another one.
     Once, in another place where I had found happiness, Jerry and I pulled up some old holly bushes.  We learned about taproots.  You see, the bushes had a large root from their centers which went straight down into the earth.  I believe they went to China.  Try as we might, we could neither dig up these roots nor pull them out.  I have no idea how far down they went because, eventually, we were forced to give up and just break them off.  It was the only way to remove them.  It is the only way I will leave Prattville.  Break me, Lord.  I cannot let go.
Christmas 2011, Autauga Creek and its
bridge in the background
     Oh, Prattville--how amazed I am at the happiness I have found here.  Once upon a time, I thought I could not surrender my life in Athens and learn to love Prattville.  Six years later, I cannot surrender Prattville.  Six years is a long time in a military life.  Until now, neither Jerry nor I had ever even lived in one place for five years.  When I moved here, my youngest child was starting kindergarden.  As I leave, my oldest child has graduated  high school and is leaving for college.  So much water under that bridge over Autauga Creek.  So much living.  Such a thick root.  We will have to break it, Lord.
Here we grew our own food,
Bridget, 2009
     The tape guns keep firing, straight into my soul.  So far, there are no exit wounds.  The pain keeps bouncing around inside of me, and I cry easily.  Bridget's friends keep stopping by to say good-bye, and the phone rings off the hook.  I remember that taproot, and the way the earth packed in around it.  The ground held to that root just as tightly as the root held to the ground.  Prattville will not let us go quietly.  Sometimes I think it would be easier for me if no one cared, if no one held onto me.  Just release me, and I will float away.  The truth is, I need to be clung to.  I need to know that somehow, for some people, Prattville just won't be the same without us.  There will be a big cavernous hole, with loose dirt falling and settling.  For a while, that empty hole will maintain its place, stubbornly clinging to its emptiness.  Perhaps, by the time the dirt settles and the earth fills in that hole, I will have found another happy life.  One last time, Lord.  One last time.

Some happy life moments from our 6 years in Prattville.
Henry and Jer check out our new house, May 2006

Henry eats dots at the Montgomery Biscuits game, July 06

Henry starts kindergarden.  Aug 06
my brother becomes a father Sept 2007
Henry ain't nothin' but a hound dog, Oct 2007
Henry rides his bike Jan 08
Bridget becomes a young woman.
Homecoming, 2008
we become part of a community-minded church,
and a new way of following Christ begins for us, 2008.
Below, the original members of our small group:  Groupski.
We bound our lives up in these people, and then they moved
away, breaking our hearts.  A bit of a turning of the tables for
military types!
Jer and I have lunch dates on Tues., since all of our kids
are in school.  2008

My mom marries Eddie 2009
We LOVE the parades in downtown Prattville!
Henry gets his bird, Sherbert 2009

We lead a youth small group in our home2009-2011
We fall in love with and "adopt" Willis, even though he has a
perfectly wonderful home!  Everyone loves the extra big
brother.  He's the 4th child we never had.
Snow after church, 2010.  Snow causes great excitement in AL!
Watching our children grow.  Here is Henry in a church Christmas
program, 2010

The Pride of Prattville Marching Band.  About 260 kids,
tons and tons of great fun.
We've been hosting and loving 4th of July celebrations here,
since Prattville really puts on a great show.

We host the Thanksgiving gathering of the clan,
which includes the annual football game
we enjoy simple family moments in our super-cool kitchen

                   Bridget gets accepted to Liberty University, her dream
              Sept 2011
Kevin rocks the percussion section 2012
Jer baptizes Henry.  Now all 3 of my children profess
Christ.  God is good.  2012

Bridget and Kevin are both in high school and ride to
school together.  2011-2012
Having two children in the band is twice the fun!
Kevin plays cymbals, 2011
Bridget and her Seekers run the Operation Christmas Child
distribution center for a whole weekend, after impressing the
lady in charge the year before.  2011

Seekers, B's Bible Study, is a screaming success (as many as 50 students
in attendance!)