September 7, 2015

Labor Day 2015

It is Monday, September 7, 2015, and it is Labor Day. I have the day off, thanks be to God, so I am enjoying some down time before I head back into the "fray" of the very active semester. I am thankful for this rest because my soul and my body need it. In truth, I am feeling the pinch of tiredness. I spent most of Saturday and Sunday resting, just physically resting, and I didn't accomplish as much as I would have hoped. Still, I took care of the most important business, and for that, I am thankful.

Tomorrow would have been my 31st wedding anniversary. Yes, it is difficult to say that, though the pain seems to be less and less as time passes. I think about all those couples who are still together after 20-25-30 years, and I am jealous of their longevity. I am not jealous in the sense of wanting their marriages to fail, no certainly not. I am just jealous of the fact that they were able to make their marriage work, and in my case, I was not. I want to be married. I always have wanted to be married. I wanted a family, and I looked forward to the day when I could have children. I still long for that stable relationship, that love that seems to survive all the heartache and hardship. 

My Aunt and Uncle's House (minus the big oak in the center)

I was just thinking about my childhood today, and how one of my dreams was to grow up and live in Ohio. I know, Ohio! Well, that was where my aunt and uncle lived, and my grandma and all the "old aunts" lived as well. My Mom and Dad lived in Akron, Ohio for a number of years (before I was born), and we visited Ohio often, like every weekend when I was little. As I grew up though, I remembered fondly my summers in Wadsworth (actually it was near Sharon Center), and how much I loved spending time with my family there. I guess it was the fact that immediate family lived far away. In fact, we were the only family that lived more than two states away for most of my childhood. We had family in various parts of Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Maryland. We were the "ones" that moved farther away (CA twice, IL, NY and MD). Yes, I didn't have the benefit of growing up around cousins on a regular basis, so I wanted my children  to have that experience. 

The downtown area still looks the same as it did when I was a child.

This morning as I was waking up, I remembered a memory, one of those tied to a sense, that took me back to my childhood and a visit to Ohio. It was a summer day, and I remember playing in the front yard of my cousins house. It was a warm summer day, but not too warm. There was a breeze, and I was sitting in the ivy just thinking about the wind as it rustled through my hair. I was about 10 and my parents had taken a vacation with their good friends, the Westfalls, and my brother and I were packed off to my Aunts home for two weeks. It was a blessed two weeks. I loved living in the country, waking up to the sound of the birds, and having no lights on at night. I can remember hearing their grandfather clock go off all night long, and the crick of the house as it settled. I would wake up to the smell of bacon cooking, and to my Aunt cleaning the house. My cousins would be gone, all out doing work or some other thing, and my Uncle was usually golfing. For the most part, I spent my two weeks alone, and while I was lonely, I enjoyed the solitude, the trees, the woods, and the fact that I was safe, so very safe.

The Strand - I think this used to be the picture show. 
I saw "The Poseidon Adventure" here in 1972

As I processed that memory, I thought about how I wanted so much to live like that when I was a young woman. I wanted to live in a place just like that -- where there were trees and small towns -- lakes and ponds and rivers. More than once, I asked my Mom if there was any way we could move to Ohio. My Mom told me no, mostly because my Dad's job was in IL, and we had to go where he worked. Still, I wanted to move, and even though I never had that chance (we left IL for CA when I was 15), I always kept that thought in the back of my mind -- perhaps -- some day I would move there.

Sharon Woods (near Sharon Center, Oh)

Well, childhood memories aside, I think the feeling that came along with the memory was sweet. For a very short time, I felt as though I was there. I could remember the sights, the sounds, and the emotion I felt. I remembered being there, as weird as that may sound, and that feeling was really nice.

Today it is going to be near 104 (again). A friend of mine posted to Facebook that she was returning to AZ after two months travelling, her last stop being Redondo Beach, and how she was not looking forward to two more months of summer. I so agree, I so agree! For many people, AZ is the destination for retirement. I hear this all the time -- "I want to get out of the bad weather!" -- and I think "really, really?" I know it is hard to live, to work and to drive in snow. Let me tell you though, it is tough to spend April-November in 100 plus degree heat. People with say "well, you don't have to shovel rain here in AZ!" as if this is some big plus. This monsoon season was "dry" so that meant we got very little rain -- no real relief -- from the scorching hot temperatures. I don't know, I just don't know. What I find is this -- I spend my life indoors -- all because it is too hot to do anything of value outside. In IL, I was outdoors all the time. I only spent my days indoors when I was bored, sick, or when the weather was bitterly cold (dangerous to be out). The rest of the time, rain, snow or shine, I was outdoors.

When I lived in CA, I never stayed indoors either. In fact, if you stayed inside, most folks thought you were ill. There was no reason to be cooped up inside, and people were always outdoors doing something, going somewhere, enjoying the beautiful parks, walks, hikes, fairs and other festivals that were going on in the cities and towns near where we lived. I was always outside.

I would say that for the most part, I have lived the last 20 years of my life in AC, and frankly, I am sick of it. I am sick and tired of spending my days inside the house. Yes, I work on the computer, but if I am not on the computer, I am sleeping because I am bored, so very bored. I am tired of living this way, and I want to go someplace else where I can live outside and enjoy the beauty of the countryside.

I have prayed about a destination for a long time. In fact, I would probably say that I have prayed about moving to that "special place" since I was a child. I was always wanting to be "someplace else" and in hindsight, I realize that that yearning was not for an earthly place but for my heavenly home. Still, with that aside, there has been inside of me a deep longing to go home. In fact, I said it just this morning, "Lord, I want to go home." I will hear myself say this over and over again, sometimes without really thinking about it, while shopping, driving, or at school. I will simply whisper to Him, "Lord, I want to go home." It is a tired sounding plea, sort of a request that says "please, may I go home?" I know what you are thinking, and you are wrong. No, I am not saying I want to go to heaven right now. I am simply longing for a place where I feel He is calling me, and that place is here on earth. I believe that since I was a child, the Lord placed a desire for me to live a certain way, in a certain way, and from that time onward, I sought to find it, to go to that place. I cannot tell you how many times the Lord has called me to 'go' yet I have not gone because I didn't see where He was sending me or why. Now, I realize that He is getting ready to send me home, and that place will be where I will live out my days, the rest of my days, serving Him, loving Him, and doing His work for His kingdom. Yes, I believe that where He is sending me is "home" -- to the figurative and literal place where I will say "I am home" for the rest of the days of my life. He knows me well, and He understands my needs -- but also -- He has a great plan for my life, and that plan entails me doing specific work in His name. Thus, this place, this special place will make it possible for me to put down roots, to live my life wholly devoted to Him, and with the peace and confidence to know that I am right where He wants me to be. He will provide for my every need, and He will show me where to go soon. Until then, I feel the pull, the call, the desire, and the deep longing to go home.

So today is a good day. It is a good day, and even though I am feeling nostalgic, I know that I am right where the Lord desires me to be for this season in my life. I love the Lord, and I love the plans He has for my life. Today, I rest in the knowledge that He is good, and that the plans He has for me are very good. I trust Him, and I yield to Him. I know He will provide for me. He will give to me that which I need most -- in the time -- when I need it.

He is good, so very good to me.

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