Written from the road, Monday, August 8.
We are flying along an interstate
in Idaho, the earth spreading the gap between Jackie and I, and my heart hurts.
When God looked down 18 years ago and said, “Hmmm, those two girls should probably be roommates", I know He knew that we would be lifelong bosom friends, but he let me figure it out all on my own. I think that, out of kindness, He sedates my heart and mind when we are apart, the way he does to a woman after childbirth that makes her forget some of the intensity and pain she has endured. Only for me, my brain lies to my heart, “Oh, it wasn’t probably as wonderful as you think it was”. Because if I could always feel how wonderful it is to be with her, then I would always hurt as much as I do this minute because we are apart.
Within hours of arriving at Jackie's, our little girls crawled into their metaphoric pea pod together and played and fought like sisters. They flocked back and forth in the yard barefooted, skirts and hair blowing, and I wished I could be them. I can imagine that Jackie and I would have played endlessly in a make-believe world to rival Tolken’s. Instead, we stayed up talking till nearly dawn. But it was more like what I think monks must do high in the Himalayas, some mystic communion that slips from lips in gentle song and chant, an otherworldly sound that makes hearts fall into sync. It is, frankly, impossible and rather pointless to try to catch up on the gulf of years since we last saw each other. It was enough to just let the conversation float along like a leaf on a slow current, caught here and there, then moving on, skuddering along on bubbles of laughter.
We did not sleep.
As I leave Jackie, her image in my mind waving until the rolling hills swallow her up from sight, I really am simply forced to contemplate eternity. How can we doubt that there is a God in His heaven, ever, even on our worst day, when we have been touched by grace in our lives? How can we entertain the weak notion of temporarily-temporal connections, friendships that show up as a blip on the screen of eternity? No. Jackie is my friend for the ages. When this old tired earth heaves great sighs from its ageless spinning, she and I will be laughing in some celestial realm with a hundred generations of our children’s children’s children at our skirt hems listening to our stories.
When we began our goodbyes I burst into tears, just as we both had the moment we laid eyes on each other two days ago. Only Jackie was stoic and brave. I stockpiled hugs from her and then stole one more, like you would if you filled your hands with cookies, and then snatched one more to carry in your teeth. “I’ll see you tomorrow.” I had to say, because by saying it, my heart hurt just a tiny bit less.
We told the kids that we will probably just have to stop eating ice cream for a year or so
to save up for another trip. I would do it in a heartbeat,
and if you knew how much I loved ice cream,
you would truly understand.
Jackie and cutie pie Clara
Clara in the tent I made for her... most con-tent!
In this picture I imagine Jackie is explaining to Clara that we simply must
brush out her hair or the birds will likely swoop down and nest in it.
Ethan prepares for what would become his single favorite part
of the entire vacation... riding John's quads. For two hours after we left,
he would randomly exclaim,
"That was awesome!"
"I love quads!"
"Coolest. Day. Ever!"
Adam was like the tortoise, slow and steady.
The Giant Sky of Idaho
Jackie says, "Oh please don't go. We'll eat you up, we love you so!"
Did someone accidentally bump into the wall and dent it?
"Not I!" says Jonah (no, silly... he did not ride the quad! Just a photo-op!).
Could it have been the man behind the mask? I'll never tell!
Tessa and Ellie inform me that they will be room-mates at BYU
with Gracie and Emma, just like Jackie and I. I do believe they will!
Jackie, dear, you quite ruined my trip to Rexburg.
I blubbered for a solid 10 miles, wept bitterly for 4 more and sniffled for another 30 besides.
My eyes were swollen for 3 counties. Honestly, is that any way to treat a guest?
More Idaho to come...