Saturday, November 20, 2010

Thanksgiving on the Farm

On Wednesday, Sophie, Brian and I, along with my parents, Kevin and Sara are making the 9 hour trip to Middleway, West Virginia to spend Thanksgiving with Brian's family. Brian's parents, Danny and Anne, live on a small farm. It looks like something out of a Charles Wysocki painting...
Really, this is what it is like. Middleway is an old, old town of about 300, first settled in the 18th century. Many of the historic building still have bullet holes from the Civil War, and Brian used to find arrowheads buried in the ground around his house when he was a kid. Sophie loves the farm. She loves the animals (horses, chickens and cats), she loves the space in which to run around freely, she loves riding with Pap on the tractor, and she loves cooking and baking with Gran. I love it, too.

I feel in love with this place over 10 years ago when Brian first brought me home. I will never forget how excited he was to share this special place with me. Eleven Thanksgiving's ago, he told me he loved me for the first time on the top of Maryland Heights, a cliff overlooking Harpers Ferry, which is only a few miles from Middleway. This is the view from there...
There is something very special about this place for me. It is a refuge, and we all need a little refuge right now. I am looking forward to sharing it with the rest of my family this year, too. Country roads, take us home...

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A New Day

I was standing at my kitchen sink doing dishes on Saturday evening right around dusk. I live on the campus of Rochester College, working as a Resident Director, and so we live in an apartment at the end of one of the dorms - Barbier. It isn't a lovely building, by any stretch of the imagination, but my back yard couldn't be much more beautiful. Right in the back of the building is grove of pine trees, and the Clinton River runs right past. The sky was blue and pink and purple, and really, if I have to be doing dishes I can't complain about the view outside my window.

I thought of Jeremy. I thought of how many times I waved to him as he cut the grass behind my apartment. Every time I have walked into my apartment this past week, I see the mulch he and his crew put down for me this spring, and how he killed 2 snakes quickly and discreetly before I even had a chance to know what was happening! I thought of him driving around in the ugly turquoise maintenance truck and about all the times he had his student crew with him this summer making things look beautiful and serving quietly. When Sophie sees that truck, she will still say, "It's Mr. Jeremy!"

I sang with Jeremy just over a week ago. I usually stand next to him when I sing on praise team. We laughed and joked lightheartedly several times during the service, like we usually did. I took communion with him and the rest of the worship team. I anticipated him and Veronica leading Refuge on Wednesday.

My heart is broken for my friend, Veronica and her babies. My heart hurts for all of us who love Jeremy and miss our friend. His life is a testimony. Veronica is a testimony. Veronica - you are courageous and beautiful and a blessing. When I saw you sitting right up front where you usually sit on Sunday, the hurt in my heart was almost unbearable. The grace and love you have shown to others, admist your own pain, is simply incredible and completely admirable. The Spirit of God surely is upon you, friend.

My blog has been dark for almost 2 years - life has gotten too busy, I guess. Veronica's blog has inspired me to begin it again. A dear friend and mentor of mine says, "All we have are our stories." How true, and how thankful we all are that Veronica has taken the time to share her family's stories on her blog. That will be a priceless treasure to Faith, Caleb and Carter and all of Jeremy's family and friends. My prayer for my dear friend (and Sophie's favorite person in the world right now--"Miss. Vronca") is that the stories and memories will be a healing balm in the weeks and months to come. You will not walk through this dark water alone, friend.

All we have are our stories.