Kara and I always talked about everything; every plan, struggle, joy-filled part of our days were fuel for conversation. During the last few weeks of her life, we talked less about the near future. She would encourage me and tell me that I would do great. She even joked that I could do life without her but she could not live without me.
When I began to think about what to do this summer, I mentioned to her that the kids and I might take a long road trip...
When you are watching a loved one slowly fade from life, it is an event to ask pertinent questions about passwords, accounts, wills, and wishes. As well as the love and joy life has brought, but talking about plans that you will have in their absence is excruciatingly hard. Anytime I bought up the summer plans of 2015, I was accompanied by tears. I would cry and Kara would be the logical one. But Kara in her grace entered my plans. She allowed me to process with her events that she would not be a part of. I cannot explain how this grace has helped me.
So I bought a used RV with some savings we had, I took the kids out of school early, and we headed off. We will be gone for weeks (yes, we have a house sitter and attentive neighbors). We will wander through the U.S., dipping our toes in every state that we can. I like goals and measurable things, so we colored all the states we have visited, and the goal is to finish coloring the map. We will visit states and family and friends until the kids learn how to form a mob and overthrow me.
Kara and I have always been adventurous. In 16 years of marriage, we moved 10 times; we had four kids (moving twice during one of her pregnancies!); we bought a clothing store; she started a handful of small businesses; we worked at a camp one summer near Yosemite; we were innkeepers at a B&B; I started a business, was a snowboard instructor, PE teacher, worked at four churches and attended two seminaries. Twice we moved over 1000 miles away to new cities with no jobs and no friends.
I want my kids to experience the joy of new people and places. I want them to live without fear of failure and enjoy the journey of life. I want them to know how adventurous their mom was. We have enjoyed this trip so far, and I love how chatty the kids get when it’s their turn to sit in the front with me. I have also used the phrase, “Do you want me to pull this thing over and come back there?!” So, it is an official road trip.
I am continually reminded that Jesus is the great Immanuel, God with Us. He is with me, and us. He takes my fear, my insecurities about the future and meets me. I can't grasp this seemingly simple truth, He loves me enough to meet me and be with me in my struggle. I resolve to believe this every day, and every day I miss Kara. It’s an ugly dance.
And now we are off because my oldest wants to taste fresh lobster from Maine...