Friday, March 17, 2006

Weekly Word for March 17 - 24, 2006

“And behold, I am with you, and will keep you - wherever you go, . . .
For I will not leave you . . .”
(Genesis 28: 15)

Wherever you go . . . A few weeks ago, we took a trip to visit Jenny up in Vermont. It was a wonderful visit, but way too short! As we got ready to leave, I felt that feeling again. It is the feeling I get in the pit of my stomach, when I have to say “good-bye” to someone I love. As Ted started to bring the suitcases out to the car, I wanted to stop him. I wanted to somehow make time stand still . . .

It was difficult to keep the tears from coming, as Ted and I drove away that day. As we left, I knew how much I loved Jen - and I also knew she loved me. And even though it was hard to say good-bye, I also knew that she was living right where she was supposed to be. She was living where her heart had led her.

“I am with you, and will keep you - wherever you go,
And will bring you back to this land . . .”

Yesterday, I felt that same feeling again in the pit of my stomach. We were helping Mike and his dad move some furniture. Mike’s grandfather had died just a few months ago, and the family was selling the house. As we drove into the driveway, the memories of that place came rushing back. It had been so long since I had been in this house. But as I walked up the steps to the back porch, it felt just like yesterday . . .

Trust in the Lord, and do good; . . .
Delight yourself in the Lord;
And He will give you the desires of your heart.
(Psalm 37: 3 & 4)

I was only 16 when we started dating. He was 20, and going to college. He seemed so grown-up to me, so much more knowledgeable than I was. As we started dating, I started to hear a little bit about his family. His mom had always stayed home, taking care of him and his sisters. Now she babysat for his nephew - her first grandson. As he told me more and more about his family, I really began to like them.

Then one day, we had a fight. I was sure he was going to break up with me, and I didn’t want that to happen. So that night, when everyone thought I was in bed, I snuck out my bedroom window. As I did, I really didn’t think about how I would get back in. All I could think about was - I didn’t want to lose him! So as I walked up those steps to his back porch, I wondered what to do. Nervously, I knocked on the door. And when his mother opened it, I didn‘t know what to say. That was the first time I met her, standing there on the back porch in the dark - with my eyes puffy and red from crying. She quietly told me to wait there, while she went and got him. When he came outside, I started to cry again. We sat on that back porch talking that night. And later, he walked me home. Lifting me up to the window, I climbed back inside my room. As I went to bed that night, I wondered what his parents had thought about me. The crazy girl who had shown up at their back door.

The next day, when we talked, I asked him what his parents had thought about me. He laughed as I asked him. “You want to know what they said?” he asked. “Yes” I said. “My mother told me that I had better take good care of that little red headed girl!” he said. And I laughed when he said it. But inside a hope grew. It was a hope to someday belong to this family - - - that maybe they would be the ones to take good care of me . . .

Love . . . Bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things . . .
(1 Corinthians 13: 7)

As I walked inside the house, the memories were everywhere. I was 18 when I married their son and became part of the family. At first, I wasn’t sure what to call them - as mom and dad didn’t seem to fit. But as soon as Mikey came along - Buppa and Gram did fit. That’s what all the grandchildren called them - and soon that’s what I called them as well. Walking around the kitchen, I opened up the cabinet doors. There inside, were the dishes we had used all those years earlier. The smells of turkey and pies seemed to fill the kitchen - and it was Thanksgiving all over again. There in that kitchen, Gram was again cooking. Buppa and Jenny were hovering nearby, waiting to steal the skin from the turkey. Scolding them, Gram shooed them into the family room. In the living room, the tv was on, and the cousins were all laughing and talking at once. The house was full of life.

As I walked into the family room, it was as if I could see Jonathan again. He was just around 14 or so - and had that nonchalant look that young teen-agers get. With one leg over the arm rest and his shoulders slumped down in the chair, you could tell that he wanted to be older. As we talked, he offered only quick one word answers and then pretended to ignore us. That is, until Gram came into the room. To her, he was her first grandbaby - and she was his “Gramma”.

Looking around the room, I continued to remember back. It was in that chair that Buppa was sitting, when we got the call that Gram had died. He had come home from the hospital that day, so sick with bronchitis, and when we all left - she had died. It was only a few years later, when Jonathan was killed in a car accident. And again, we all found our way to this house and this room. During the good times - and the bad times - they all came home . . .

Love . . . Bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things,
Love never fails;
(1 Corinthians 13: 7 & 8)

It is never easy to say good-bye to the ones we love. It was ten years ago, that I left my first husband. I never did say “good-bye” to him. I didn’t leave a note, I just packed up what I could and left with Jenny. For the next two years, I hoped that we could work things out. But it never happened, and soon we were divorced.

After the divorce, I wondered what his father would think of me. There were still parties for the children, and graduations as well as other events - where we all would be together. I worried that I would be hated, but I wasn’t. Buppa was still that quiet, gentle man he had always been. He loved his children and grandchildren, and as the great grandbabies came long - he loved them as well. With each graduation, each wedding and new birth - Buppa was there. And always behind his eyes, the tears were there as well. He never stopped missing her - - - his sweetheart - his wife . . .

And there is a time for every event under heaven -
A time to give birth, and a time to die;
A time to plant, and a time to uproot what is planted.
(Ecclesiastes 3: 1 & 2)

As we stood in the living room, we got ready to move the couch out to the truck. Mike was taking that old couch to his own house. As I looked at it, I saw the pictures flash before my eyes. There on that couch sat Gram and Buppa with Jonathan and April sitting between them. Then I saw Mikey and Jenny sitting between their grandparents - holding their hands and smiling at the camera. The pictures continued, and it was Christmas in that living room. All the grandchildren were there - all six of them - and their parents sitting all around the room. The couch, the chairs, the floor were filled - as the family celebrated together. Now, as I stood there - I realized how many from the picture - had already left this world . . .

A time to tear down, and a time to build up.
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
(Ecclesiastes 3: 3 & 4)

A time to weep, and a time to laugh; . . . Both had been part of this house. As we got ready to move the couch into the truck, I saw a picture lying on the floor. I picked it up and turned it over. It was a picture of Joe, my first husband. In the picture, he was about 2 years old. It had hung on the wall of the family room for years. It was the same picture that we would point to and ask Jonathan (who was about 4 at the time) who that was in the picture. “Me!” he would say. And we would laugh, because the picture of that blonde little boy with beautiful eyes - did look a lot like him. As I held the picture, I showed it to Ted. “Keep it” he said. “We’ll give it to Zachary when he is older.” “After all, this is his family . . .”

There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven -
A time to keep, and a time to throw away.
A time to tear apart, and a time to sew together;
(Ecclesiastes 3: 1, 6, & 7)

It isn’t easy saying “good-bye”. As we moved the furniture out of the house, I looked at Joe and asked him how he was feeling. I knew this couldn’t be easy for him, selling his family’s home. His dad and his mom were now gone - and the house was going to have a new family living in it soon. He shrugged and walked over to help Mike and Ted with the couch. As I watched, I realized how strange this must seem to someone outside, looking in. But for me - this was my family. My husband, my son - and the man who gave me this family. I don’t know if he will ever understand how much his parents taught me. They taught me how to love - how to be a mother and a grandmother. I don’t know if he will ever understand the gift he gave to me.

And there is a time for every event under heaven - - -

Saying “good-bye” - it isn’t an easy thing to do. Over the years, I have said good-bye to some very wonderful people that I loved. They were people who taught me how to love others and love God. They taught me about myself and about life. And when they left, I missed them terribly. But to this day, I am glad to have had them in my life. I loved my Nana so much, and through her she taught me about loving others and being loved. I miss Norma, she taught me how to have faith and trust, and that God is with me no matter what. And I miss Gram and Buppa. They taught me how to love my children and my grandchildren. Each of their lives - affected who I was. And their lives - live on through not only me - but my children as well.

The other day, I saw a sign outside of a church. On the sign were these words: Go with God - - - Until we meet again! That is how I feel about my grandmother, Norma, and those I have loved. I know I will see them again - someday . . .

As Ted and I drove away from that house yesterday, I wondered what he was thinking. As I watched him, he looked over at me and smiled. I knew at that moment that we had a love that I never thought could be possible. Silently, I thanked the Lord for the life that we shared. Do I know if there will come a time when we have to say “goodbye” to each other? No I don’t. But if that day ever comes - I know that it will only be - until we meet again! I know that our love - is a love that will last - forever . . .

For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I shall know fully - just as I also have been fully known.
But now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
(1 Corinthians 13: 12 & 13)

It is my hope and prayer that you will have a life full of love and joy. Will you face times of saying “goodbye”? Yes. But as you do, hold tight to the hand of God - knowing that our goodbyes are only until we meet again . . .

God bless you in the coming week ahead - may you Go with God - until we meet back here again . . .

In His Love,
Debbie & Ted Ayers


Blogger Melanie said...

I loved this Entry Debbie. It brought tears to my eyes....all your stories are so moving and i thank you for sharing them. Saying Goodbye is never easy and no matter how many times you have to say goodbye to someone it never gets easier.

4:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Melanie - I hope that you are doing good - and that your mom continues to get better. You have been in our thoughts and prayers.

2:42 PM  

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