I woke up this morning at seven, prepared to surprise Gracie and Jimmy before they went to school.
I stood in my room and Dad sent Gracie up to get something from my room. She, thinking my room was unoccupied, opened the door and nearly fell backwards when she saw me standing there. She said my name and touched my shoulder, just to make sure I was real. And then it was a hug fest 🙂
I went downstairs and hugged Jimmy, who was equally surprised, and Daddy. Then, because they were leaving for school and I was absolutely exhausted (we didn’t get in until one in the morning), I moseyed back upstairs and lay in my bed for a while.
As I lay there, I thought. I thought about the future, about how I had become so distracted that I had missed the relational, emotional aspect of my relationship with Jesus, ya know, the One who saved me from myself. No wonder I was so outta whack: I had neglected the one area of my life that needed constant work, constant growth, constant attention. I had forgotten how to just enjoy Jesus’ presence.
I journaled all of this and then some, praying passionately for some kind of obvious banner in the stars to tell me what to do (later that night I checked: it hadn’t happened). I took a shower and tried not to think about life, tried to just break. After I got dressed into jeans, a giant t-shirt, and a ratty sweatshirt (something I never wore in The City), I went over to Aunt Joan’s house. I had been hoping she hadn’t read my blog yet so I could surprise her too, but it wasn’t so. Regardless, she was glad to see me, and I couldn’t express how happy and relieved I felt when I saw her. I spent most of the morning talking to her, and she asked me hard questions that I’d already asked myself but needed to be asked by someone else. She made me think through everything I’d already thought about and then some.
We drank hot cocoa, had a pillow fight with Madyson (a family friend’s toddler, and possibly one of the most intelligent one-year-olds I’ve ever encountered), and laughed about silly things. It was refreshing and reminded me of the natural medicine of a trip home. I needed this so badly. I needed to be in the middle of nowhere.
I went back to my house and got breakfast, doing some things on my computer and getting the house ready for Gracie’s birthday party that night. Dad came home from work and we ordered Chinese for lunch. I know ordering Chinese seems like a mundane thing, but it was a lot of fun and I felt loved by my Daddy, which I also needed.
Why did God give me such a loving family, such a strong support system, when I did nothing to merit it? Oh my gosh…He doesn’t make any sense….it’s amazing.
I had two cups of coffee, and they were amazing. I did the dishes, washed, dried, and folded laundry, and vacuumed. Jimmy and Gracie came home, which is when Dad and I began to really start cleaning the house since people would be coming over soon. We washed and scrubbed and disinfected the coffee table together. It was really nice to do something like that with him.
When Jimmy walked in from school and I went to hug him, he didn’t flinch and duck under my arms like he normally would (because he’s too cool for hugs from his big sister), but hugged me strong around my middle, which made me realize how tall he was getting. It healed my heart a little to have him hug me like that.
Jimmy and I played tennis on the Wii and I won (but that’s because I bumped myself up to the professional level over Christmas break during the days he was at school 🙂 ), and then we played skip-Bo until Mom needed me to help her get pizza for the party.
Frankie’s gave us a large pizza on the house because it was Gracie’s birthday, which was very generous of them 🙂 so we took the eight pizzas, cut perfectly into 100 slices even, put them in the back of the car, and drove home.
Grandma and Aunt Tracey came over a little while later. Grandma didn’t know I was home either, so I waited at the top of the stairs until I saw her shoes enter the kitchen as she spoke to my mother. I hustled down the stairs, came up behind her, and put my hands over her eyes. Once she said she didn’t know who it was, I took away my hands and let her turn around. She screamed and covered her mouth, her eyes welling up with tears and her face getting red, or at least I thought it was red because I couldn’t actually see it: she had buried her face in my chest and was hugging me tightly.
Everybody came over. There were about ten teenage girls, several adults, three dogs, and a few other children including Jimmy. We all had pizza and drank lemonade and sweet tea while I talked to everyone, cracked jokes, and cleaned up paper plates and plastic cups.
Gracie blew out her candles and opened her presents. I took pictures. Then, when Mom was taking the decorations off the cake and offered one to Gracie so she could lick the icing off, I took the decoration and used it to smother icing all over her face. She proceeded to chase me through the kitchen and cover my arm in icing. When then carried the war back out to the dining room (where it had started) until my shirt and hair and her shirt and face were covered in the sweet sugary stuff.
While we were in the bathroom washing off, we hugged and I told her happy birthday. It was the best 🙂
The rest of the night went slow. I was getting into a movie with the ten teenage girls when Karly called and we had a great conversation that lasted a good hour. It was really nice to talk to her.
Tomorrow I’m going day camping up at our property, which is creatively called The Land. I need to be further into the middle of nowhere. No, it’s not to get in touch with nature. I like being in the woods because I’m away from everything. There’s no wifi, terrible phone reception, and no people. Just me and God.
Just me and God. The way it should always be 🙂
“‘And shall I make the rest of it an abomination (idol)? Shall I fall down before a block of wood?’ He feeds on ashes; a deluded heart has led him astray, and he cannot deliver himself or say, ‘Is there not a lie in my right hand?'”
Isaiah 44:19, 20, ESV