Saturday, November 24, 2007

Home again, home again...

Well, I made it home. The trip was pretty uneventful.

I did have lots of time to think and ponder. I kept being reminded of the movie, Elisabethtown. There were three points of major significance. The first was in Laurel, MS. It was the first place I had to change highways. The change was successful, but as I started down the new highway I realized I really was on my way home. There were people I didn’t get to say goodbye to. Alex, Jake, Jonathan and Kayla are just a few of the many people I was unable to say goodbye to. This realization hit me pretty hard and I started to cry. I didn’t cry long because I was driving and I needed to see the road.

The second major point was when I crossed the Mississippi River. It dawned on me that every life changing moment I have ever had has happened on “the other side of the river.” When I served as a summer missionary in Memphis, TN. When I quit my full-time job to spend ten weeks with my uncle in Greenville, SC. When I served as a missionary and later moved to Citronelle, AL. I could almost hear the book cover slam as it closed on this chapter in my life. Again, I cried.

Not long after this, a friend called me to check on my progress. I was feeling a little down because I was on my way home. He told me to look at the scenery I was driving though. At the time, I was driving through beautiful trees dressed in their fall gowns. It was gorgeous and I was missing it because I was pouting. He also told me I needed to work on my attitude. He was absolutely right.

The third major point was when I crossed the Texas state line. No, I didn’t cry this time. I actually whooped and hollered because I was so happy to be back in my state. I stopped shortly after this to fill up my car. When I got out of the car, I could smell Texas. I don’t know what Texas smells like, but I would recognize it anywhere.

The rest of the trip was uneventful. The only bad thing I can think of is when traffic came to a stand still 50 miles outside of Dallas. This wouldn’t have been a problem usually but my right knee and my left hip were injured last Saturday. Because I had to keep constant pressure on the brake, I was in agony by the time traffic started moving again. When I finally reached my cousin's house, I was barely able to get out of the car because I was so stiff.

I am relieved to finally be home, but it was cold and windy. It actually snowed yesterday. I miss Alabama. My heart aches for the people and the woods. This confuses my Texan heart. Texas should be the only state a Texan heart longs for, but I really do love Alabama.

Thank you to all of you who offered advice and places to live while I was trying to sort out what to do. Many of you offered me couches and bedrooms. I am grateful to know there are still a few who care about me.

Now, I am sitting at Hastings drinking a venti decaf caramel macchiato. They have wireless here so this is where I come to do homework and check my email. It is nice to have a place to get out of the house and get connected. So I am going to end this post so I can go do homework. Thanks for reading.

Friday, November 16, 2007

In the wee hours...

It is late and I cannot sleep. I should be very tired because I went to bed after 2am and got up at 7am. I tried to go to bed but the reality of things to come hit me like a sucker punch to the chest.

I am going home. I am tucking my tail between my legs and going home. If things work out, I will only be gone a month and a half to two months. If things don't work out, there are lots of people I love dearly who I may not see again for a very long time, many of whom don't seem to care.

I couldn't do it. I couldn't get myself established. I have failed. Mom keeps reassuring me I have not failed, but I have trouble believing her. I came here for a specific reason and have failed to fulfill it.

I am relieved I will not have to spend the holidays away from family, but it is a bittersweet relief. I already miss all the Alabama people and I am not leaving for four more days.

I think part of my hurt comes from the fact that only one or two people seem to actually care that I am leaving. One of them actually offered me the double wide her daddy owns, but I am pretty sure I wouldn't be able to afford it.

Tomorrow night is going to be hard. It is the last Friday I will be here and, as of yet, I will be spending it alone. Life just seems to be moving on for everyone else and I am fading into the etheral mists of time. There will be no farewell party or big send off. I will simply slip away into the predawn hours, alone and heartbroken.

My faith in God has waned. It was so strong when I got here. I had so many expectations and aspirations. They are gone now. They have been replaced by tears and frustrations. I have tried so hard to keep up my faith. Oh God, why?

Before I come back, I will need at least two things: a place to live and a better job. I want to believe God will provide these, but the view from here is clouded with doubt.

Well, I have cried for the last hour and vented most of my pain. I will again attempt to slip into dreamland. Thanks for taking the time to read my pity party. I promise the next post will not be this depressing.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Update on Esmerelda

If you are confused by the title, it is because you do not know that my car has a name. Yes, I named my car. Her name is Esmerelda. I call her Ezzie, for short.

I was able to pick up my car this afternoon. When I talked to Eddie, my new mechanic, he knew exactly what I was talking about before I even finished telling him what happened. Apparently on newer cars, if the speedometer quits working, the transmission doesn't know when to shift so it doesn't. So praise the Lord, it wasn't my transmission and I only had to pay $120. If anyone in Saraland needs a good mechanic, I have one I highly recommend.

So my trip home is still on. I will be heading out very early Tuesday morning and driving all the way through. It is a 15 to 18 hour trip. Mom is worried about me driving that far by myself. She has offered to fly down and drive back with me. I like this idea because 1) I miss my mom and 2) it would make the drive much more bearable if I have someone to talk to. The only problem is it would cost about $550. She has the money, but that is alot of money to spend on a plane ticket just to meet up with someone.

Please pray for my health. I am battling a particularly nasty cold. I haven't been able to get proper rest because of work and school so it is only getting worse. Thankfully, I am off tomorrow. I plan on taking it easy, very easy. Thanks for reading.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

My new ride...

I left work Friday night and headed towards home. I was really excited because our 8pm appointment hadn't shown up and we had actually gotten off work on time. I was particularly excited because Alex and the girls were at camp. I was actually going to get to hang out with them before I had to get to bed.

Feeling pretty good and listening to some Relient K, I started merging onto I-65. As I started to speed up, I realized that my car sounded kind of funny. I turned off Relient K. Yeah, it did sound a bit funny. I looked down at the speedometer to see how fast I was going. According to my car, I was going 0 mph.

That wasn't right because...well...I was moving. I decided it was no big deal. I could still get home. I would just make sure at least one other vehicle was going faster than me. By now I was on I-65. So I start speeding up to merge with traffic, but my car felt and sounded weird. it was revving really fast, but I wasn't speeding up. It was then I realized my car wasn't shifting out of first. Not good.

I exited at Dauphin and stopped in a McDonald's parking lot. I sat for a little bit hoping that maybe it would just go away. It didn't. So, of course, I called my mother. I didn't know what else to do. After talking to Mom for a bit, I decided that my best bet was to call Kenneth.

So I called him and he gave me a few tips. He couldn't come help me because he was in Prattville. I decided I would try to get it home. I would just have to go VERY slow. Back onto I-65 I went.

After a little bit, my Check Engine light came on and I started to smell something. I exited the interstate again, this time at Springhill Dr, and stopped at a Shell station. I sat in my car and tried to think of someone else to call. I decided to call my pastor. The part of town I stopped in wasn't the best. It was a bit scary. I was praying very hard at this point.

My pastor and his wife were very kind to come and help get my car towed to a mechanic in Saraland, even though I made him miss his favorite show. They even paid for the tow. But the most extrodinary thing is the fact that his wife let me borrow her car. Below is a picture of the actual vehicle I am driving.

For those of you who are not familiar with cars, that is a candy apple red 2000 Ford Mustang SRS. She let me borrow her 'Stang! It has been a little weird driving this sporty little thing. I have decided I would never want to own one. They attract too much attention. More people, especially guys, have waved at me in the last two days than in the three and half months I have lived here.

My Dodge is still at the mechanic's. They are not going to even look at until Tuesday I think because they are closed on Monday. I am hoping it is something simple like a sensor and they can fix it quickly so I can return the 'Stang.

In other news, I made a plan this morning in the shower. I do some of my best thinking in the shower. Here is my plan: 1) Monday morning I am going to tell my manager that Thursday will be my last day at Sears. 2) I am going to spend the weekend hanging out with all my Alabama friends. 3) I will leave in the wee hours of the morning on the 20th and head to Texas. 4) I will spend the holidays in Texas. 5) I will return to Alabam in January.

I know I am meant to be at this camp but I don't think the camp is ready for me. There have been alot of things happening and I believe God is preparing it for something. I hope I am a part of that something. Until then, I am going home. This is all dependent on whether God intervenes.

So everyone in Amarillo, I will see you in a week or so. Everyone in Alabama, if you want to see me before I go, you have until the 19th to come see me. Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Observations of a desperate mind...

Well, it looks like I will be home for Thanksgiving after all. I was just told that I need to have made other living arrangements by next weekend. I cannot afford to move into an apartment because I am only part-time. I do not know anyone who needs a roommate. The support I thought I had when I moved here has evaporated. I am going to bring it up at prayer meeting tonight, but I am not sure what will come of that. If God does not intervene, I will be heading back to Texas on the 19th or 20th.

Speaking of church, I joined a church last Sunday. I am now a member of Shadow Lawn Baptist which may be a moot point in two weeks. I love this little church and hope to be around to see it grow. The pastor is a wonderful friend and advisor. I will be very sad if I have to leave.

My job is going OK. I still don't really like it, but realize it is only temporary. I am beginning to wonder what the point of God giving me this job is.

I am still homesick. I was driving down I-65 yesterday on my way to work when I saw a cattle truck. This made me miss home even more. Isn't it funny how the most random thing can make you think of home? To all my Amarillo readers, seeing a cattle truck is not a big deal. In Alabama, they are a rare sight. In fact, that was the first one I had seen since I have been here.

As I was driving home last night, I made an observation. I have to drive 45 minutes to get home so I have plenty of time to think. Most of the way is on a little two lane highway called 45. 45 runs through rural Alabama and is very dark at night. As I was driving home last night in the dark, it occurred to me I couldn't see anything outside of the range of my headlights, even with my brights on. My life mirrors this illusion. I can only see a few feet in front of me or the part of my life God has chosen to reveal to me. I don't know what is on the fringe of my spiritual "headlights." I just have to trust God will keep revealing the road to me.

Please continue to pray for me. I am ready to go home, but in the same breathe it is the last thing I want to do. Maybe my time here was to be short-lived to teach me a lesson or two to carry back to Texas. Maybe all this is just a test of faith and God is merely allowing me to have this experience to help someone else later down the road. Whatever the case may be, I know I have followed God's voice and He will take care of me, no matter where I am two weeks from now. Thanks for reading.