Wednesday, May 31, 2006

And The Hole Just Gets Deeper...

(Read Previous Post Before Reading This One)

It is never easy saying goodbye.

But saying goodbye for the last time is one I'll never get over. We buried my uncle Gerald yesterday in Lamont, Tennessee, in the graveyard where he and his younger brother Richie had cut grass many times to make extra money as kids. Before getting to the graveyard, the processional line of cars and the hearse drove by his house where the brothers and his sons had lined up all of their tractors and trucks that said "Warren Brother Farms" on their sides as a tribute to their brother and father. His tractor, the last one he had driven, was waiting for the line as the hearse rounded the corner and his house was in view. An old friend drove Gerald's tractor and led the hearse to the graveyard. It was an amazing day of tributes and honor paid to a man so deserving of praise.

He had called me "Egghead" for years. I guess because my parents had chosen not to live on the farm as the other Warren brother's families did, as we lived in Greenbrier. Greenbrier was once the home of an egg farm/company/factory, and Gerald always found it amusing that we lived right down the street from where it once was located. Thus, "Egghead" was appropriate. It could have also been for the many times I'd busted my head over the years... I'd run into brick walls, fall onto concrete, or get knocked in the head by something or another, and the nickname just seemed to fit and stick. He'd laugh at how frustrated I'd get every time he'd call me that terrible name.

I remember every year around Christmas time, Gerald would remind me that his birthday was coming up, and that I wasn't to forget to send him a card. He'd pinch me until a bruise would come up and I'd yell and knock on him until he'd let me go. Usually, I'd be laughing so hard I couldn't do anything, but he'd make certain I'd be sending him a check with his name on it for his birthday on January 22. It would be then, I'd laugh and elbow him in his side, reminding him to send me a card, as my birthday was on the same day. He'd say, "I know, I know. Don't forget my card." I'd tell him that I prefer cash. Of all of those years, I never once sent a card. Funny enough, he didn't either. But I'd receive a call that night asking for his money... Every year.

I can't imagine my life without him in it. I didn't see him all the time because I knew he was always there. I could always count on Gerald if I wasn't able to get a hold of my dad. When I needed help this past Christmas buying gifts for other family members, I called Gerald. Of course, he said they'd all enjoy a box of rocks, but then he gave me ideas as his wife gave them to him. There's just a part of me that seems to be missing without him. You know that life doesn't go on forever, but I sure wish I could have told him how much I loved him. I know he knew because we weren't the loving kind, he and I; we were the picking, poking, and joking kind. That was our kind of loving. I know the last time I saw him, he gave me his fair share of loving. I had the bruise to prove it for a week after seeing him. It's hard letting go of someone you weren't ready to. It's even harder knowing you're saying goodbye for the final time.

Until I see you again,

Sunday, May 28, 2006

And Now, There's A Hole In My Heart

I lost my uncle today.

It was unexpected, but really, when is death ever truly expected...

I know God has a plan for all of our lives, and as we sat with family and friends, I realized how fortunate we all are to have God in charge. So many things happen that we cannot explain or even begin to comprehend, but God knows what He is doing. My uncle had lived a short 47 year, but wonderful life. He had a beautiful family, amazing friends, and a sense of pride that none of us will ever understand. He was a farmer, and he worked everyday in the fields, as his father had, just as his children will do. I have never been as proud to be in a farming family as I was today. I realized how precious and important they are to one another.

I am saddened for our family to be without my uncle Gerald, but I know God knew what He was doing today. We have had to stop and reflect on life, the beauty of it, and the fact that it is so unpredictable and fragile. Things will never be the same without him, his laughter, his pinches, his jokes, his meanness, his presence. Nonetheless, life still goes on; that is the beauty of it, and my uncle is waiting to see what we will do with it.

My uncle Gerald and I shared a birthday... As I was telling a friend this piece of information and how my birthday would never be the same, he said this:

That, in itself, is a representation of what life is: beautiful, tragic, and timed by a clock we can't read. Your birthday is something more than it was: a reflection of life now.

I love you and miss you already...

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

I Thought They Hit You When You're Down...

Why is it that when things are going beautifully in your life that the smallest thing can throw your whole world upside down? Why is it that I can pretend that things don't bother me when I know as well as my closest friends that there are just some things that are tearing me apart inside? Why do people always look for things they don't have? What is it about the unknown that people are intrigued by? Why do we always want what other people have got? What is exciting about being insanely rude and mean? How can there be so much hate and inconsistency in the world? Does God really hand situations to you that He knows might challenge you? Does He do so to see if you're really willing to make the necessary sacrifices to be His child? Why do bad things happen to God's children? Why is being a Christian so hard sometimes? Why do people always seem to get away with the things they do that are wrong? Why can't people actually DO their jobs? What good is a police officer if he doesn't write a report? What is the point in exercise if it just makes me tired? Why do I have to have migraines all the time? Why does graduation have to be so exciting and scary at the same time? Why do thank you cards have to be so difficult to write? Why does my hair have to be so frizzy? Why does it have to be so cold in May? Why does finding a job in the teaching profession have to be so uncertain? What happened to getting hit when you're down?

I had never been happier, and I probably have never been. My life is where it should be finally after years of pulling myself down the wrong roads and making the wrong choices. It's funny how the smallest situations can almost break that happiness... The devil tries to bring you down in any way he can, and honestly, I've almost let him. I'm tired of being messed with. I'm sick of being on this roller coaster ride of life. I want some sort of consistency that I haven't had yet. I know there's no such thing, but I want just ONE week of it. I graduated on Saturday, and last night, I did the background vocals with a great friend of mine on a Gospel artist's upcoming Christmas album... There are two blessings in one sentence. Upon returning to my car, it's like Satan just knew how blessed I was and I saw the glass everywhere. It's funny what runs through your mind when you're not sure what's happened... I was safe; nothing had been taken. I just felt violated. I didn't feel secure anymore.

God has been good to me, and I just needed to share this for some reason. I know it's usually that when it rains, it pours. Sometimes, the devil gets you when he knows you're most vulnerable, and that's often when you're happiest and closest to God because you wonder, as I have, "How can bad things happen to God's people?" It's not about that, though. It's about handling situations God sends your way and making Him proud that He is your Father. Yes, my smile might have left me for a while last night, but today, it's back, and I'm thankful that God was looking after me and mine.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Life Has Been Patiently Waiting For Me

As I sat in my sister's chair today while she cut and styled my hair, a familiar song played. One I heard years ago when driving away from Greenbrier to Western Kentucky University for the first time. One that brought me to utter tears almost five years ago. One that really moved me in a completely different way today.

I'm moving on,
At last I can see that life has been patiently waiting for me,
and I know there's no guarantees but I'm not alone.
There comes a time in everyone's life
when all you can see are the years passing by.
And I have made up my mind that those days are gone.
I'm moving on.

I've walked in and out of the same buildings, sat in the same desks, and seen the same faces for five years. I've made the same mistakes time and time again. I once was a child driving into a world of unknowns. Now, I am the person I always hoped I would become, and I've chosen the career God has intended for me. I will walk across that stage tomorrow a better person than when I walked in. I could blame Western for all the mistakes I made: the parties I went to, the shots I put down, the things I don't remember. What I have realized was that each of those situations made me who I am. I am thankful for each time I messed up and made a fool of myself because I've learned that I am not as perfect as I thought I was... But I've seen who I can be and who God has made me, and I know that each day is a step in His direction whether I make mistakes or not.

I am humbled by the outpouring of God's love as shown by my family and friends. When I drove into Bowling Green with my car packed to the ceiling and crying with all I had, I felt like I was losing everyone that meant everything to me. It was hard stepping into a scene of unfamiliar faces. It didn't take long for God to show me who was important. Soon I had some of the best friends I'd ever had in my life, and these are the friends that I still have today. God has given me who I need when I needed them. My family has been there for me throughout it all, and no matter what, they are the people that put the drive in me to be better and do more.

College has been an experience I cannot express in words. From humility to pride, from humiliation to triumph, from boys to the best girls in the world, from dorms to apartments to houses to flooding apartments to burning the kitchen stove, from parties to more of them to many I still don't remember, from boogie barning to glasses and dress-up, from Spice Girl videos to "Peas in a Pod" to Gravy and Biscuit, from doughnuts to smokes, from Cracker Barrel hostessing, serving, and training to eating at Denny's at 4 in the morning, from TV nights to Birthdays to Corn fields and somewhat being forced to get over my fear of bridges, from karaoke to REO Speedwagon, 80s, Michael Jackson, and Bowling to Skynard, Hank, The Drinking Team, Mario Brothers on Nintendo, Figaros, Being Pulled Over, late night Walmart trips and car destroying, from Mimi to Lucy, from Ali Mac to J-Na, from Ghost to old friends and rebuilding bridges to Lo and B for dance moves, venom, quotes, and truth...

My college life has been amazing. I have been so blessed. Life has been waiting, though, and it's time to move on. I have a world full of little minds waiting on me to fill their heads with new knowledge. I'm so excited to see what God has in store.

Sunday, May 7, 2006

A Part of Me Will Always Want to Stay with You.

"You aren't staying?" he said, as I got up from the couch. "No, I need to get home." I saw the look on his face, and it wasn't the look that he used to have. When I stay now, it's because we truly enjoy each other, and being around one another makes us happy. In the past, I would have stayed with him for all of the wrong reasons, but our relationship has turned into something so much more than that in recent months. We're now friends, and spending time with each other means more to us than anything else we do. Sounds strange, I know, but as I left his house tonight, I kept thinking about what I should have said when he asked if I wasn't staying. "A part of me will always want to stay with you." That's what kept replaying over and over again in my mind. That's what I wanted to say. That's what I needed to say. But I didn't. We went from being friends, to being more than friends, to being in a very serious relationship, to being nothing, to now being best friends, and I can't say that there aren't times when I wish we could have that relationship part of us back. I don't want to lose him again though. I cherish our friendship that much. I just love him that much. He was the last person I gave my heart to, and I guess, a part of me doesn't want to take it from him even though that was over a year ago. I don't know that I want a relationship or if I just care so much about him I can't see my life without him... Either way, being with him is so easy, so natural, so real. And I'm not saying he's the one for me because he's more than likely not because I know God has plans for me in that department, but I sure do like the picture we make when we're sitting there laughing at and talking about nothing. He'll never know this, but yes, a part of me will always want to stay with him.

A part of me will always want to stay with a certain someone I know as well. I spent Friday with a very special friend of mine, and I cannot tell you how well this time was actually spent. When you walk away from dinner with a smile on your face not from the food but from the company you've just kept, you know you've got amazing friends especially when the food itself was amazing and free. This person has showed me so many things throughout my life. He's given me a friendship like I've never known, one that has withstood the tests of time, one that has proven itself through triumphs and trials, one that has never ever changed. As we sat talking and laughing about old times, I knew we were creating new moments and memories we would remember forever. I wanted to just soak in every second for I knew he would be leaving soon and heading off into this great big dream he's created for himself. And though I'm so proud of him, I'm saddened by the idea that I may lose him again. I know distance hurts friendships, and I know that when lives get hectic, friends often forget one another... He and I have done it before. So, although I feel our bridge that was once burned has been rebuilt and it firmer than ever, I just want him to know that a part of me will always stay with him. I'm so proud of what he's doing and who he's become. I'm so honored to be your friend...