July was a crazy busy month for me. The hubby and I had some quality R&R. I returned home and got a few things out of the way, then I was back off to Texas to visit a dear friend and family. Not a hitch on my “bare fare” Spirit flight. My friend and I drove up to Oklahoma to do some hiking and just enjoy one another’s company – some good ole’ girl time therapy!
Then it was back to Texas to spend time with family. I was enjoying visiting with my sister and her family when I got a message from my father-in-law to call him. <Insert some past hurt here with hubby’s family that I’m not over, yet.> I called my hubby to see what was up and he told me my brother-in-law had passed away that morning unexpectedly. He hadn’t been sick that we knew of and it was a bit of a shock to the system.
My husband and his family went into frenzy mode. There were plans to be made. He would be buried beside my hubby’s grandparents and the funeral would be in Texas. This was on Thursday and I had planned to return to Pennsylvania on Saturday with my mom. So after all the plans were settled and everything was arranged, the new plan was for me to stay in Texas and extend the rental car, while my husband and kids flew in from Pennsylvania. He would fly out the day after the funeral and the kids and I would finish out the week to visit my family. I was trying to make the best of a bad situation. The kids hadn’t seen their extended family in a long while. <Insert messed up families here.> This would mean that I would be stuck in Texas for an additional week, a total of 16 days.
I was born in Texas and lived there until I was 26 years old. I have now lived in Pennsylvania for 21 years. Going back and forth is a huge culture shock. I grew up in a very rural part of Texas. It is depressing to see a once-thriving little community with run down, boarded up, sad little houses along the main street, then come back to thriving suburbia. (A side note: there are many places in Texas that are thriving.)
Nostalgia plays havoc on your mind and between being stuck, a funeral, and family, my emotions began to frazzle a bit. Here’s what I learned during the “long wait home”:
Families are messed up.
There are skeletons in everyone’s closet and they tend to fall out after a funeral. I couldn’t think of one Biblical family that had it all together. If I’m missing one, please let me know.
Funerals are white washed words of someone’s life.
You can’t write someone’s obituary if you didn’t have a relationship. I’m going to write my own obituary and I want people to say the truth. The truth is I’m a sinner and Jesus loved me enough to call me one of his own. I am a hot mess in life and my death won’t make my story any different.
Being stuck someplace you don’t want to be sucks.
Move; physically and figuratively! It’s not always easy but it can be done. I did it and so can you!
And finally, life is one long wait!
Sometimes, I get tired of waiting. It is hard work! Waiting isn’t stopping, though. It is creeping forward in a long line of traffic at about 1 mph and finally, you’re on the George Bush Tollway, Texas’s equivalent of the Autobahn, flying along at about 80+mph until you see a highway patrol. Waiting is standing in line at Disney, hot and sweaty, tired feet, grumpy and possibly hangry, edging up one step at a time but finally, you’re on the Dumbo ride and it’s just magical for about 3 minutes. I tend to forget that while I wait something good is on the horizon and I really need to take more notice of those good little blips on the horizon.
While we wait for the blessed hope – the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. Titus 2:13-14
All this reminded me of the children’s story, The Velveteen Rabbit and his “long wait home”. The little velveteen rabbit comes into the world all shiny and new but along the way, he encounters the trials of life. The rabbit has to wait to become “real”. The boy is the one that makes the rabbit “real” and the little rabbit is far from looking perfect but he does become “real”.
Jesus doesn’t need us to be perfect. Jesus was perfect for us! Jesus wants to make us “real”. I’m in the process of becoming “real”. “Real” takes time and “real” hurts. So my hope is this. After messed up families, after skeletons in the closet, after funerals, after white washed stories, after stuck places, and after the “long wait home” Jesus will make me “real”. Not perfect, but “real”!