Sunday, December 19, 2010

Advent: Where Peace= a Highway.. part 1

This advent season has gone so fast. So fast we weren't able to keep up with daily or even weekly readings. We tried. Really. But seriously. It just hasn't happened. We try instead to just talk with our kids as we can. While we get ready in the mornings, over meals, as we drive in the car. In the Chilis parking lot when my seven year old demanded I tell him "the truth" about Santa. We've also been visiting {lots} of different churches, so consistency is just not a part of lives right now. In fact... consistency hasn't been part of our lives in a long long time. Two Christmases ago we were living in Bossier City Louisiana. We were blessed there with amazing friends and great community and miss it every day. We even had the occasional snow storm. And Monjunis. And Strawns ice box pies. I digress. Things were very "up" for us. I was in a "high" spiritually, being challenged and growing and learning ect. Lucas was growing too and eagerly advancing in his first career job. November marked the end of his training period and so December came around and life was going great. Then two days before Christmas I was sitting in my room mid afternoon, wrapping presents and watching Dr. Oz. Or maybe Dr. Phil. Or maybe the Doctors. Something like that. My phone rang and the caller ID said it was my Mother in law. Hmm. She never calls me. She usually calls Lucas's phone. I answered and was shocked when she simply said. "Jim just died." Huh? What was that? Surely I'm not hearing you right. Not our beloved Papa Jim. Who we just saw a month and a half ago. Who rode the hayride with my boys and shot pumpkins from the pumpkin canon and made silly faces and goofy sounds with my one year old Balin. Not Papa Jim who celebrated his 16th birthday with us (not his 61st ;-) )Not "died". I had to get Lucas home, but he was on a job site working. I called him anyway and said "you need to come home now" as gently as I could. How could I do this without freaking him out? How could I get him home safely? He knew. He knew something really bad had happened for me to call him. So I had to tell him. Later, like months later, he told me about his drive home. I believe in angels.  I believe they kept my husband on the highway.
We had to make decisions. Decisions we were not ready to make. This was supposed to be our first Christmas in our home as a family. Ayden had spent the Christmas before in Colorado and this was our year with him.  I had a fridge FULL of food and Aydens Colorado parents were scheduled to come visit the day after. Due to not knowing funeral arrangements we decided to wait until Christmas morning to make the long long drive to Minnesota. We went to church Christmas eve and Santa came the next morning. Balin woke up, walked into the living room and puked. Exactly what I felt like doing. After a less than merry gift unwrapping we loaded my parents car... that I had driven four hours round trip the day before to meet my dad halfway and borrow.. and headed out on a long long highway over the course of two long long days to spend a long long weekend mourning our Papa Jim. Christmas dinner was a Chinese buffet in a tiny town in Kansas. Not a joyful Christmas. Not a year in which reveling in the Peace of Jesus made much sense... and yet we were comforted and held in his Peace all the same. Jim's funeral was led by a sweet Catholic Priest who spoke words of comfort. As I prayed with my husband Jesus was there. In the middle of our pain and chaos he was there.  Those 2000 miles of highway gave us lots of time to talk and to heal. A highway that led us to the arms of loved ones and stories. My favorites were stories about Jim's service in the Patriot Guard. Stories about the highway trips he took to make sure vets were honored. Peace was literally a highway. Did you know Isaiah tells us that Gods Peace is like a highway too? Come back tomorrow and I'll tell you more about that.

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