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This morning I awoke to several thoughts, one of which was this is the day I leave Jim and fly home alone. If you read the last post, you know that we spent some time last week in Myrtle Beach. Well after that, we flew to Tampa, where his home office is located, spent the weekend, and today I fly home while he stays on for work the rest of the week. I’ve been dreading this since I don’t fly alone that often and I have a connecting flight, but the huge reason is because I just got my new federal driver’s license and it looks like a flimsy little piece of paper that I made myself. This is because they stamp the word “temporary” on it and the picture is all blurry and you don’t get your actual plastic license for two weeks. One has to have credible identification when traveling via airlines.
I ran into a bit of a snag with this at the airport in South Carolina on the way from Myrtle Beach. The first ticket agent asked with a smirk, “This is a driver’s license?!” But then she waved me on. I wasn’t so lucky at the next station. The male and female ticket officers there hemmed and hawed and finally decided to accept it, after which the female agent looked at me and said, “Put that away. Put that away NOW!” I was so stunned I didn’t think to respond that THIS IS ALL THEY GIVE YOU AT THE WEST VIRGINIA DMV.
Ever since that incident 4 days ago, I’ve been antsy about whether or not they would let me on the plane in Tampa to return home. Those people that work the check counters in that airport are pretty scary. Yesterday I bemoaned my quandary again, to which Jim replied, “Hey let me check, I think I have your passport with me!” And he did. Which they will accept, even though it was made 7 years ago and I had blond short hair and look nothing like I do now. I wish he’d had that brilliant idea a few nights sooner, it would have saved me some sleep!!!
So I arose this morning and readied myself – Mr. Early Riser was already in his morning mode and thinking up things to do while waiting to take me to the airport. I actually ended up giving him something occupy his time when I exploded my oatmeal all over the microwave. I was going to clean it up but since he’s high energy he did it and even wiped off my oatmeal bowl and brought it to me.
One of the things Jim and I like to do when we fly together is crossword puzzles. I have a worn out puzzle book I take with me whenever we fly, but I had forgotten it at home this time. I guess since the first leg of the trip was in the RV and I wasn’t thinking long-range about the plane from SC. He was not too happy with me that I’d forgotten it, so during our connecting flight on the way to Tampa, he picked up another puzzle book at the airport terminal. We happily got down to business once we boarded our plane.
Let me tell you how this works. Jim and I are very competitive towards each other. He is the only person on the planet that I have to win against, no one else really matters, and I’ve never been a competitive person except towards him. So I hold the crossword book and try to figure out all the words as fast as I can and fill out the boxes before he can get any of them. He accuses me of holding the book just far enough that he can’t see it well and therefore by so doing, I create an edge for myself. I can neither confirm nor deny such accusations. At any rate, he inserts his guesses as fast as he can, and if I think he’s right, and I’m not already writing a word, I’ll enter his suggestions. I do this with great reluctance, however, because I’m not always sure he knows what he’s talking about, and this gets him very frustrated. “Capsule!! I said ‘CAPSULE’, why won’t you write that down?!” His frustration makes me giggle, so I tend to prolong the agony as long as I can. Half the time I’m filling in my own guesses so quickly that I end up with several errors, which he likes to point out. We end up solving a game in about 10 minutes together, and then we start another. It’s a lot of fun.
Today, I’ll do the crosswords alone. I’ll find my gates alone, I’ll change planes alone, I’ll look out the window alone, and I’ll get my luggage off the conveyor belt alone. That last one is always a challenge for me since I can never seem to recognize my own luggage. I’ve been known to let it pass 4 times in front of me before I finally retrieved it. However, the giant green and yellow bandana I have tied to the handle should tip me off, so I may be good to go.
Jim has been traveling with his work almost the entire duration of our marriage, so I am used to his leaving. But for some reason, it doesn’t get easier with time. I find myself dreading his departures, and in this instance, mine. He’s not any better. Today he brought me to the airport, deposited my luggage, checked me in, and got me to the second gate where he had to leave me. We could have sat around for about an hour together, but that just seemed like prolonging the agony. He was miserable, and so was I. He said, “Well, I’m gonna go ahead and go because I can’t hardly stand this any longer.” I was glad, because the longer he stayed the more I wanted to cry. We said our goodbyes and went our separate ways.
The passport worked great, except that the checker pointed out that according to the dates on my passport, I had a birthday coming up…and then he actually said the word “fifty” to which I replied with a lack of enthusiasm, “thanks”. Like I need to be reminded how old I’m going to be this month. I’m hangin’ on to 49 as long as I can, people!!!
I checked the board to make sure I was going the right way and got all confused because I was looking at the ticket for my next flight instead of my first one, and then I was looking at “arrivals” instead of “departures”. I got myself straightened out and went to the gate. I had arrived at the airport at 9:30 and my flight was to leave at 11:40. This is how we roll with Jim, because everything has to be done ASAP or else the world is falling apart. So, I sat down to blog.
As I said at the beginning, when I awoke I had several things on my mind. The flight identification we already covered. But the next thought was something I went to bed worrying about, and that was whether or not that Wallenda fellow made it across the tightrope attached to Chicago skyscrapers while blindfolded. I had watched his last tightrope act, which was across the Colorado River Gorge, and it made my stomach tie up in knots. I vowed to stay away from the televised hype this time. So I did the next best thing this morning – clicked on social media and BAM – he was still alive. Probably planning his next crazy scheme.
But the final thought that I had was much more sobering. I had read last night before going to bed that Brittany Maynard, the newlywed with brain cancer, had ended her life with the prescribed pill written for her by her doctor for such a need. This is such a sad subject to touch on, and yet, it is life – and death. Sometimes I wonder where we are headed in this country, killing unborn babies and euthanizing people. We are playing God, and that is not at all what He intends for us. He created us to cling to Him, to trust Him, and to honor Him and His creation – of which we are a part. Taking lives, either our own, or others, is doing none of that, and it is not in His plan.
Brittany Maynard had stage 4 glioblastoma, a very aggressive brain cancer. This strikes a raw nerve, because Jim’s father contracted that same cancer 16 years ago. Tom had taken early retirement and 6 weeks later the tumor was discovered. He was given 6 months, and a year to 18 months with surgery. He knew he was going to die and he very much wanted to live. He opted for the surgery, and yet he passed away 6 months later. During that 6 months, we soaked up as much time with him as we could. We were sad, and the surgery to the brain had made him a little different, but he and we laughed as often, and he found joy in the grandkids and in all of us spending time together, because it beat the alternative.
That time we spent with him settled on my mind this morning in the midst of my musings. I even found myself sharing that story with the lady next to me on the airplane. I rarely ever talk to other passengers, but she and I hit it off right away and began sharing about our families and lives. When I told her that story about Tom, it hit me anew, and tears came to my eyes. It’s been so long and yet, we still miss him so.
My mother-in-law cared for him around the clock, right until the last breath, and we were all around him when he left us for heaven. It was God’s timing, He called Tom home. We had soaked up all we could, and now, it was time to say goodbye.
I follow a blog called “Mundane Faithfulness”, authored by Kara Tippetts, who has terminal cancer. This young wife and mother of four is living her life to the fullest for as long as she can, by counting all the little joy moments, spending time with her family, and sharing God’s love with others. Her message is to live right where you are with what you’ve got, and minister and love and share joy and be thankful in the here and now. She recently wrote to Brittany Maynard, asking her to reconsider taking her life and asking for an opportunity to sit down and talk with her about Jesus and His hope.
That never happened. These are two very different sides to dying. It’s not just the person, it’s the people around the person that are to be drawing from the experience and serving and loving that person. It affects more than one. God has a plan for each of our lives, if we will let Him lead.
“For You formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in Your book were written, every one of them, THE DAYS THAT WERE FORMED FOR ME, when as yet there was none of them.” Psalm 139:13-16
Those are some serious, heavy, truthful thoughts. Our thoughts can sure run the gamut during a day, can’t they? Driver’s licenses, tight rope walkers, exploding oatmeal, life, death, crossword puzzles.
I’m home now, a long day of travel over. Thankful to be with my family again – I got my Sawyer fix and we went over all our animal sounds together. Jim just sent me a text, “Ok u can come back in the morning. Thnx.”
“For the righteous will never be moved; he will be remembered forever, He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord. His heart is steady; he will not be afraid, until he looks in triumph on his adversaries.” Psalm 112:6-8