A Bit of “Where am I in life?” Thinking
The little furry black dog chased Deron and me as we ran back and forth across the small room just off the living room. Our goal was to annoy it into a frenzy and it had worked. Mawmaw yelled “get down Scamp!” in a short agitated voice as it jumped off the couch with its tongue hanging out. We looked at each other and laughed.
Coffee had been made —coffee was always being made; the smell is still almost touchable. No doubt there was a plate of peanut candy on the kitchen table not quite covered with a piece of crumpled tin foil half-pulled back from where the last spoon tore off a chunk (I loved that candy). Or maybe half a watermelon still sitting out, left from earlier. Most likely it was either a Friday or Saturday evening. I think we made it down to Mawmaw and Pawpaw’s at least once a week or so in my younger years. I remember it being just something we did.
I’m thankful for the “it was just something we did” things.
Over the past couple of weeks my mind has made a sporadic routine of pulling these scattered memories from the corners of long ago. As each one comes into focus, I strain to adjust its clarity, hoping to stretch its borders to include a bit more of the moment. Scenes like my cousin Aaron and I cutting hay bale strings (Aaron told me he had finally confessed to Pawpaw we did that; I’m glad), playing in the barn loft, diggin’ taters, pulling watermelons from Paw’s patch, checking the cows with Paw, and on and on they have come —thankfully.
And as each comes, I can’t help but recapture a feeling which I am confident I once took for granted. The feeling is difficult to explain, but maybe something like, comfortable. But that’s not really big enough; more like a natural or even a safe sort of comfortable. But even that still doesn’t fit just right. Either way, it may sound silly, but it feels good to let it linger for a bit when it comes.
I left Louisiana almost 17 years ago, and with it, not just Mom and Dad and Deron, but the 120+ members of the Thaxton family and I don’t know how many on Mom’s side. Of course, it’s been my decision to stay in the military this long; a journey that has taken us all over the country and almost a dozen different houses. But as I begin to contemplate finishing it off, I am starting to realize in full, just what it has cost. Not just for me, but for my wife and children too.
Abby, my youngest, asked me the other day in a quiet, serious voice did I just live in that one house the entire time I grew up. I said “yes,” to which she replied in a sad voice, “that must have been nice.” There was no anger or bitterness, just a sense that she would have enjoyed it. She would have.
I don’t mean to sound like I regret the life I have chosen, but as we get ready to box everything up once again, I guess I’m just doing a little “where am I in life?” assessment. God has been overwhelmingly gracious and has kept us, literally kept “us” together with sweet care. And I am thankful beyond words for God’s blessings in my life.
In about two weeks, I will once again be able to say “I live in Louisiana.” Not Sabine Parish, but Louisiana nonetheless. I told Dani yesterday that I didn’t think I wanted to leave this time around, though I didn’t put it in those specific words. God, of course, may have other plans for us, but I’m ready to go home… home. Yes. That’s it. That’s the feeling I felt… it felt like home.