People ask me, so what was it like? If you’re still catching up and want to know what I’m talking about, click here to find out.
Ahem, it was terrible. But I didn’t know WHAT was terrible at the time. I may have been sleep-walking through that year. What was the hardest for me was the separation from my family and my beloved Oregon for a year. I was marooned in Indiana and I mean NO OFFENSE to Indiana, but it ain’t nothing like Oregon.
I missed a fresh breeze, the beach, trees, mountains in the distance, rivers and rocks and shells. Many who know me have seen my fascination with rocks and shells. They are piled on platters, fill up vases, and are even scattered right by my computer keyboard. I love rocks. I have jars of them in the garage that I can’t even display. That’s what was the hardest thing for me. To be in a former hotel (where the windows did NOT open) in a room on the tenth floor breathing recycled air (whether the air conditioning worked or not), and the only beach I could see was in my dreams. And I dreamed about home, which is probably why I was sleep-walking through that year. I just wanted to go home.
I missed my family. I missed all the excitement of a massive remodeling project. I left a small house and came home to a big house. I missed the evenings we all gathered in the living room together to read books. I missed running screaming from my little brother who suddenly got very tall and strong and suddenly could catch me. I missed rooming with my sisters and laughing hysterically about some silly movie we’d watched. I missed my life.
Because it was put on hold, which is a worthy thing. I don’t begrudge that year, I don’t regret it, I just wish it had gone differently. I know now that my life is blessed not because of anything I DID (or currently DO) for God, but because God is God (and I’m not Him). I spent that year serving because it was a good thing to do, whether or not anyone saw it. I just did not expect the pressure and I did not realize until yesterday how well we all did under such pressure.
I still count as dear friends people I met there, and our friendships were forged in fire. That is a blessing I received from the hardship.
I learned to say “no” to myself, to put myself second, and to survive with less. That is a blessing I received.
I learned what I am made of and I’m proud of all of us. We did it. That is a blessing. (Probably more because we got to leave and never go back.)
And as my friend Krista (who survived with me) wrote yesterday in response to my post (and which was so much more eloquent than I could ever say):
. . . They were cruel but we will be loving, they never praised or cared but we will love the heck out of the people in our lives, they were not free but we will live in freedom in our beautiful lives and never, ever give it up. . . .
Yeah, that’s it. That’s what it was like. And we walk on. Back to the writing.