Monday, December 14, 2009

Home Is Where Our Story Starts

On our first morning in the new house, I went to the bathroom to apply some Facial Fixatives (AKA make up) and try and do something about my not-so-magnificent, non inspirational head full of bed hair.  It only took one glance in the mirror to become ominously aware of the fact that my usual frightful morning look was even more frightening than usual.

I said to myself, “Wow. The lighting in this new bathroom is sure not as flattering as the lighting in our old bathroom was.” 

In fact, I looked so very weary and worn that I immediately made a mental note to ask Steve if we could try to install some different light bulbs soon.  (I thought that maybe we could even locate some miracle-working light bulbs.  Hey, a girl can dream, can’t she?)

After spending a few (futile) moments trying to make the necessary improvements, I went downstairs to where Steve was eating breakfast.  When I said “Good morning,” he turned to look at me and the first words he said were, “Honey, you need to be sure to get some rest today.  You look exhausted.”

And suddenly the terrible thought hit me.  It wasn’t the new mirror after all! That was how I really looked! And no new light bulb on earth was going to change that.

What an unhappily riveting revelation that was.   Yikes!

In the midst of all our recent (and exhausting) packing and moving adventures, I’ve been thinking about something  Sue G. wrote in the comments area about how blessed we are to be moving into a new house with our whole family intact. 

When I read her words, I immediately thought about Sarah’s cancer relapse three years ago and I appreciated the very real possibility that it could very well have been just Steve and me moving to Manteo.  Alone.  Without our precious daughter accompanying us.

As part of the pediatric cancer community for almost eight years, we have met scores of cancer families and we are well aware of how many of those families will be going through this Christmas season without their sweet cancer warriors.  We feel incredibly blessed that we have been able to move into this new house accompanied by our desperately loved
14-year old princess who is still alive, still well.  We know very well the Sarah Story could have been written in a completely different way.

I also think about women I know who have had to move out of their homes (either alone or with their children) due to divorce, domestic abuse, or other trauma.   They don’t have a helpful, handy husband around to kill bugs, hang curtain rods or unstop toilets.  They don’t have the daily, ongoing support of a strong, godly man and yet they’ve still managed to make the move; they’ve still managed to make a new life; they’ve still managed to make a loving home for themselves and their families.

I admire those women more than I could ever say.  They do what needs to be done with little fanfare and with few pats on the back; they do it just because it needs to be done—for themselves and for their children.  (And ladies, my hat is off to you.)

Most of us have moved at some point in our lives.  Most of us have pulled up roots and lived somewhere new. We’ve taken our memories with us.  We’ve taken our stories with us.  And we’ve left behind what needed to be discarded, even as we look forward to the making of new memories and the writing of new stories.

Today, on this misty Monday morning, I am blessed to be in a new town, a new church, a new community, and a new home.

I am especially blessed to be here with a daughter and husband (and occasionally, a son) who will continue to write the Smith Story with me, leaving their inimitable, indelible fingerprints on every page.

And even on those mornings when I look in the mirror and see fatigue and weariness reflected back at me, I know that there will be many other mornings when I will only see the reflections of joy--the kind of deep seated joy that trumps the tedium of life and reminds me of three things:  Life is hard.  Life is good.  And wherever our lives take us, home is where our story starts.

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Miscellaneous photos from the last few days:

Steve teaching the Wednesday night Bible study.  I just loved how be fit in so well with the beautifully decorated stage.  He looks like he’s part of the decor!

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Some more of the decorations at our church.  I sure am glad someone has that amazing gift because I sure don’t!

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And moving from loveliness to messiness—here’s yet another moving mess I dealt with.   While we were moving in, I stacked a whole bunch of things in the laundry area that I didn’t want to deal with at the moment.  Well, the moment of dealing with them finally arrived--mainly because I needed to get to the washer and dryer!

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I dragged everything from the laundry room to the kitchen and started sorting through stuff.  Oh happy day.

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But I ended up with this, so it was worth it!

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The hanging of the family calendar.  You know you’re home when the calendar has been hung!

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This is in the entry area of our home.  We have fondly christened the statue, “Raymond,”  after our 6’7” tall trumpet player (and friend) who played in our worship band in Smithfield.  

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Sarah and Snowy, hanging out at the cottage while Steve and I were in the process of moving into our new house.  Math has to get done, regardless of what else is going on.

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And finally, Saturday we gathered around the computer in Steve’s office to watch the live streaming video of the graduation at Southeastern University where Nathan attends.  His girlfriend, Meagan, graduated with her Bachelors degree in Elementary Education.  When she walked across the platform to get her diploma, the three of us whooped and cheered and even did a little dance.  Meagan is planning on going right back to school in January to start on her Masters degree.

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Meagan, we are so proud of you! We’re glad we could share your moment with you.

6 Had Something To Say (Just click here!):

Kristi said...

Congratulations Meagan!!! Also a congratulation to all of you. God really has really blessed each and everyone of you. Things will continue to fall into place just as He has planned.

MaryH said...

Thank you, Becky - your post touched my heart and was so very needed today.

Redeemed1 said...

Thank youfor this wonderful post. it is so easy to lose sight of the many ways God has blessed us when we are in the middle of big changes in life.

And congratulations to Meagan!

Catherine said...

Congratulations to Meagan. Didn't know, for some reason, that she was a college senior already.

Anonymous said...

I love all the Christmas decorations in your church.
Do you have an altar or chancel area or just a stage?
We don't decorate for Christmas in the Episcopal Church until after the fourth Sunday of Advent. That always bothered me when I was a kid. I wonder if that is why I go crazy decorating every nick and corner of my house? I start the day after Halloween, and try to be finished before Thanksgiving so I can be "relaxed" in December. Ha! Today this 'relaxed' teacher put the bag of dirty spoons from our snack at school in the freezer..but when I almost dropped the bag with the ice cream carton in the dishwater, I caught on! Then I went to the drugstore to develop 3 re-takes of the Preschoolers. However, if the camera is still at school, that is indeed a worthless trip.

How exciting for Megan! Does she plan to teach children who are deaf, or did she learn sign language for another reason?
xxoo mrs pam

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