I came here to bring some of Andrea's personal belongings to her Mom, Sister and Niece. I came because I wanted them to have some things Andrea has touched, held or worn some things for them to remember their daughter sister or aunt. I did not think about what it was going to be like for me to come home again. It was not until I was about two hours away on the drive last night that it began to hit me. I was going home without Andrea. Really this was our home. We spent the majority of our Christmas' in this house. I think we came home every year except when we lived in Turkey. We certainly came home every time we moved. No matter where the Air Force took us we would always come back to Wichita Falls and this house. As I have said before Wichita Falls and this house in particular is where Andrea and my lives began. This is where she lived when we met. I remember dropping her off from a date and sitting outside until her bedroom light went off and I knew she was asleep. I'm in the same bed we slept in every visit, in the same room. There is no where I look that I don't have a memory of Andrea. And that is hard. It was hard last night at bedtime when I had to be alone and face my feelings. I called Ginger and we talked until 1 or 2 am. That is a bad habit we have gotten into but there is so much we have to say to each other there just is not enough time in day. Last night, like many times before one of us is struggling and needs to talk. Last night it was me who was having a hard time and I needed to talk about Andrea and Ginger being my gift and my blessing from God listened to and helped me work through my thoughts.
I will share what I felt having not fully understood what it all means. I miss Andrea so much and naturally I drift to memories of her. I want to remember Andrea. Because of the closeness we shared as husband and wife the memories are more detailed, abundant, personal and intimate. I soon found out that my memories, the very thing I sought, tormented me. I miss Andrea and I naturally think about her but when I do it hurts so bad I want to run from her memory. Then I feel bad for not wanting to remember my wife, the woman I loved so dearly, so deeply. It is as if I have no place to exist. I can't remember her, yet I can not forget her. What once gave me joy, security and hope now brings sadness, worry and fear. And being back in Wichita Falls and especially in this house triggers memories of almost 28 yrs of our relationship.
Lately, praise God, I have been able to remember Andrea without feeling such a deep grief that I wanted to run away. I guess that is a sign of how life will be when I "adjust" to life without Andrea. But there are days and times where the memories trigger such grief I hate to remember her. I hope that does not sound cruel, I do not intend it too. Last night was one of those times. There are so many memories they just overwhelm me. I find I have no where to escape. It is always hard when my mind focus' on the physical aspect of losing Andrea and not the spritual truth of where she is and the faithfulness of God I witnessed everyday.
Last night I was looking at pictures with Andrea's mom and I came across on of Andrea in Turkey. She was walking and talking to a Turkish woman on a muddy dirt road. I told June about the picture. It was taken after the huge earthquakes Turkey. I think the death toll was around 30,000 and maybe as high as 50,000 but don't hold me to that. The bottom line is there was a lot of destruction. Andrea the boys and I went with some friends to a village that was hit very hard. Our friend, who is a missionary, was helping get trailers to the people who lost their homes and we went along to hand out candy to the kids and visit with the families. I remember driving around and seeing all the houses and apartments that had collapsed but more then that I remember the blue tarps of make shift tents that were outside the homes that were not destroyed. I asked my friend why the tents. He told me it was because the people feared another earthquake and were too scared to live in their houses. I understood the people who lost everything living in tents, but I thought is so strange that even the ones who were fortunate enough to still have a home were living in tents. You would see a perfectly intact house and there in the yard would be a tent made of any scrapes they could find. They were so scared of going to sleep in their house for fear it would collapse on them that they would rather sleep outside on the wet ground. Really who could blame them? They had just experienced the earth shake and there was no certainty in life for them. Their home was stripped of its protective nature and what was once seen as their shelter and protection had turned into their greatest fear.
I thought about that last night as I told June about the picture of Andrea. I thought how at times I allowed fear to force me away from the security of my faith. It seemed so irrational for those people to sleep outside in the wet and cold when within 50 feet sat this perfectly good home with the comforts of heat, running water, and warm beds.
Isn't that just how we are at times in our life? We have all we need in Christ yet we choose to allow fear to steal our security from us. We choose to live in a tent when we have a home. We allow our fears to make what is secure seem insecure. We allow fear and worry to cast a doubt on what God has promised. We become suspect of the greatness of God. We allow ourselves to be convinced God is too good to be true, or God that not care about this in my life, and so we live in a tent just outside a palace.