Sunday, March 23, 2008

Arkansas weekend

Here are some more pictures from the flood (on our return home) to add to this blog:

Well, we made it to Arkansas. The trip here was quite different than the other previous 40 trips. We had a baby with us. That was different. A road that we usually travel was flooded so we had to go a different route. That took an additional 40 minutes. Lastly, the view was different. Apparently a great big portion of Southern Missouri/Northeastern Arkansas has recently experience heavy rainfall. Everywhere we looked it was flooded, it was mostly the fields and crops that go for miles in each direction along the highways that we traveled. It seemed as if were driving in the middle of the ocean, if it weren’t for the trees in the water. It was the strangest thing. At sunset, it was beautiful. The sky was lit by so many shades of pinks, purples, oranges, yellows, and blues. These colors were reflected in the waters that ran alongside our highway. Everyone was either sleeping or doing something else during the sunset so I was solely enjoying it. I took a few pictures which I will share here, though I am aware that it’s not really safe to take pictures while driving.

Brielle did great on the drive here. She hardly fussed. But she did sleep a lot. Maybe you are thinking that is a good thing, and it was. But not so good when we got to our destination and she kept me up until 3:30am crying. Poor baby.

This morning we had an emergency, kind of. We ran out of diapers. So, I had to make the 15 minute trek to Wal-Mart, because Brielle had a blow out in the last available one. It was on that journey that I realized I have this love/hate relationship with this area. I was mad that I had to drive so far just to get diapers. I was playing my loud rock music and some old feelings of rage came back to me. Small town. Slow. Simple. Old and yet getting newer. All of things that I don’t like about Mountain Home are all of the same things that I love. It doesn’t make sense to me. The trees looked new and beautiful. They looked old and tired. The mountains curved and accentuated the beautiful sky. I wanted to take in the fresh air. The gravel dirt road was bumpy, forcing me to slow down. The same things I love are the things I used to rage about. I see no other race that white in Wal-Mart. That’s something I’ll never like. The elderly move slowly. I miss that. The sweet elderly people here. They used to drive me crazy when they would drive 20 mph down the road when the speed limit was 45 and there was no passing here. Used to be no passing. Things have changed now. So have I. I hate coming here feeling those old feelings. I want to love where I am from, those very aspects of this part of the country that helped shape me. I was frustrated when I left. I don’t want to feel that way coming back. Especially not when there is so much beauty in one place.

A few times I was frustrated, I won’t try to sugar-coat the whole trip. They were small isolated incidents, and not much worthy of complaining about. But one particularly rubbed me wrong. I was enjoying my cousin’s sweet newborn at the time. How sweet it is to hold a newborn, especially when your own baby is almost twice that size (in just a few short months). My uncle came and sat next to me, and started complimenting me and my family, and for some reason I heard a “but….” coming on. I thought that was kind of strange. But, he jokes a lot, so maybe he was about to joke about something, even if he seemed serious. Nope. He started talking about how he heard that I’d left the church, and how the Lord does not want division among us. What? I was calm, but I didn’t feel that I had been ready for that kind of approach. I explained to him what a simple house church is, what we do, and how I never thought of it as any kind of division or separation from another church. I just see at as a part of the body of Christ. He wanted to get together and do a bible study with me. I explained what I understand the gospel to mean to me, and how the choices that I make are for the growth of myself and my family in our relationship to God and to His people. We ended with a hug goodbye, but I’m not really sure he understood me. Oh well. The whole thing seemed a little weird and kind of frustrating, that we would discuss that (what I see to be a wonderful thing: I LOVE my home church family) at a family gathering, approached in a negative light, when I only come home twice a year or so.

Regardless, over the weekend I was reminded of many of the reasons that I came home, which I long to end on. When I was sitting on the tailgate of my brother’s jimmy listening to him and his good friend rock out on the electric guitar and the drums, I am glad I am here. When I hug my grandma, kiss my aunts, visit with my cousins…I am glad I am here. Even something simple like when I go to the bathroom in peace because I know someone will care for the baby (2 grandparents + husband). When I see my cousin helping her toddling girl hunt for Easter eggs, I recall her when she was that size and her mom and older cousins were helping her. She shows that love in kind. And I feel nostalgic. When I hear my dad playing guitar and singing on the front porch, I know I’m really home. At night, when all is quieter and still, I walk outside and suck in the fresh country air. I can’t get enough of it. Then God blows winds directly on my face, cool and sweet, and it’s here that I know I am. Away, but home.

Below on left: PopPop and the boys chillin. On right: PopPop gives Brielle first Easter bunny.

Grandma taking her for a walk on left.

Andy rocking out!

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