I have to grab a quiet space, a moment of silence, an empty room, to let my mind catch up with my body’s location. We are here. I breathe. We are here…
Sun drenched pine needles, warm deciduous green sent. A perfume of the places we made memories. Carpet dampened and dried a thousand times, dust, splintering wood railing drying beach towels… the vague smell of a vacuum cleaner used hours ago. Lingering campfire oder, sunscreen, bug spray… a hint of laundry detergent and bleach.
Sweet warm air presses around me, a welcoming hug, an alcove of past and present colliding in surreal peace, quiet joy, a parade of memories. Laughter and voices trickle in from outside and I am pulled delightfully into consciousness. After two years of being away, this place hangs onto so much we cherished, and now again offers them up, as if we never left.
My son, now several years older, runs barefooted on a path of pine needles, his sister close behind, in the sheer joy of this game. Our newest family member, now nearly two years old, bounces happily on Daddy’s back and we run together. Our family is awarded the prize of coming in third! And I recognize how much closer we have all grown. How much more fluidly we work together as a unit. We’ve changed.
And the days fly by. We walk down our streets, seeing visions of our younger selves, ghosts of what once was us. We linger with neighbors, kids ride bikes, run, swim, swing, walk… all as if we’d never left. Night covers over and fire flies are caught in glass jars, mosquitos are swatted, gnats are shooed. Pizzas are made over a fire pit. Adults look after kids regardless of who they belong to. And we laugh and tease. Conversations reveal time has passed tho. And I see how we’ve grown older. I see how we have moved forward.
I stand in the midst of friends, once regular spheres in my life, now here, together. All chatting, laughing, chasing toddlers, passing babies around, gathering plates of food. We blend in so naturally. So easily find conversations and connections as if it was only last week we gathered. I am overwhelmed. This is what home feels like. Where you belong whenever you are there. Regardless of time passing, lives changing. I am frozen, choking on tears I want to keep inside, realizing this is a glimpse of what I want heaven to be.
We sit by the river enjoying each other, catching up on life, watching the kids throw pebbles to ducks, “feeding” them, delighted by the antics of ducklings frantic for a taste. You are part of our family, so seamlessly. So nonchalantly, yet bonded with intensity. By the ups and downs of life lived out together.
And the five of us gather on beds and pray. Young voices plead for more time here. Older ones silently plead with them. We yearn so deeply for this feeling to last. This week of stepping into the past, a bend in the river where a quiet pool, deep and welcoming, formed, and we rested, and we weathered storms, and we spent happy hours… made memories that returned to life for us this week. None of us want to leave. Yet us older ones know we must. And we pray for our younger ones. For understanding and peace. For the wisdom to cherish this gift.
I have to grab a quiet moment. A space to let my heart recall all God has done. To let emotions roll out their age old dance. I sit and my throat swells. I breathe. Tears trace their familiar path, and I can smile. It is a gift to have lived so deeply, so honestly, so intently. It is a gift to remember the joys, even the sorrows and fears, to know the heart-breaking beauty of disconnecting from intricate connections as God weaves my life into and through and around and away from lives He cherishes more than I begin to know. To see our past, to step back into time and feel loved, to remember all God has done, where He has worked in us and brought us now.
Cool air floats around me, and I remember all God has done. Refreshing, renewing, reviving. We are moving forward. Only He knows how our tomorrow plays out and who He will weave into it. And I breathe. Stepping back into the present, out of our vacation, I know how good He is.