I have a talent that until now I've kept a secret from all of you. It's true confession time: I am the master of denial. Oh, yes I am.
Usually, I approach life with wishing I were an optimist/idealist, but knowing that I'd rather know all the cold, hard facts so I can be prepared for the worst. But there are certain situations that are so mentally draining that I don't come to terms with them until absolutely necessary. And even then there had better be fries and a fountain Coke nearby -- my preferred choice of coping therapy.
I know it's coming. In fact, it's almost here. We've turned our lives upside down and squeezed ourselves into a 10 x 10 room, a pallet in the basement and a 10 x 15 storage space. Kids are doing well in their new schools and flourishing at a church they have been familiar with their whole lives.
I've had time to adjust, right?
And yet, last night while we gathered around my husband to say, "We'll miss you," "We love you," etc. it was getting increasingly difficult to remain in denial. I busied myself with the kids' doings and chatting with other guests. I ate, and laughed and relished in the retelling of the family stories, minor political debates, and sharing that help bind us together.
My husband is soon leaving for deployment overseas and while he's not going to an extremely dangerous part of the world, there are are always unthinkable possibilities. And then there is the length of time he'll be gone. He's had to be away from us in the past, but this is a long time. Especially from our children's perspectives.
The joy is that this voluntary deployment will hopefully prevent a more lengthy involuntary deployment to a more dangerous part of the world.
The joy is that I have family, friends and a church that have surrounded us with love, prayers and practical help and I am confident that they will continue to do so.
The joy is that I recognize that this is a divine "set up to step up" (as Beth Moore has so aptly put it. I have I mentioned what a great Bible study she has on the book of Daniel? Gather a few friends and your Bible and then run and get her Bible study. Run, I say, run!) To explain further, this is my time for God to show me how to grow and allow Him to stretch me. I won't have The Calm One near to help balance out my frenetic personality, so I have to trust God for all of that calmness and balance.
And yet among all the joy, the urge to put off the reality of his imminent departure is stronger than ever.
Life is better When The Calm One is within reaching distance. Within crying on his shoulder distance. Within laughing together at the kids' silliness distance. Within being blown away by a great sermon together distance. Within catching "our" song on the radio distance. Within wonderment of God's grace together distance.
And as I sit, writing this post, feeling a little sad, but determined to look for the joy, I think I've come one step closer to not being quite so in denial. Perhaps I am slowly giving way my "mastery" of denial to The Master. And that's the way it should be.
Fries and fountain Coke, notwithstanding. I'm just sayin'.