During the testimony meeting we had at the end of the Belnap Family Reunion (by far, my favorite part of that reunion..talk about a spiritual boost), my cousin said something that describes our trip perfectly. "It is so nice to be home and get my batteries recharged." That is how I feel.
We spent the last 10 days at the Hanks Reunion (my mom's side), the S&S Reunion (me and my parents and siblings), and the Belnap Reunion (my dad's side). A lot of people read this and think, BLAH sounds like 10 days of torture. That is not the case for me. I guess I am just extremely lucky in the fact that I grew up with, shared numerous experiences with, played games with, laughed with, cried with, and shared precious moments with ALL of my aunts,uncles, grandparents, and cousins on both sides of my family. We are all very close. We are a tight knit bunch of crazy people and we love it. We all grew up living pretty close to eachother, so it wasn't uncommon to have one event or the other going on all the time. They have all had a big role in making me who I am today.
We always have a BLAST when we are all together, and the stories of growing up together never get old as we tell them over and over again. There is so much love and closeness when we all get together, and I just wish I could bottle it all up and bring the feeling home with me to keep forever. I just sat there and basked in the warmness and the love of it all. It was just what I have needed.
I even felt my physical illness get a lift. Mono. is a respiratory virus, and I could not believe the difference the lower elevation made. I noticed right away. It was soooo much easier to breathe! It just sucked in as much air as possible and grinned. It felt great! I was blessed with a lot of days of pretty good energy. Of course, I am not myself at all, but even a little energy is better than nothing. I only had two or three days of feeling like death. I really think I had added energy and strength due to the better air. It was amazing and so wonderful.
I admit, I struggled worse than ever this time around when it was time to go. I just wanted to hold on to everyone and not let go. I finally felt like my spirit was letting go and feeling free from the huge burden my heart has been carrying from several heart wrenching experiences we have been through and are currently going through this summer.
The longer we were there, the more I could feel my heart healing and my spirit taking on a new courage and hope. A courage and hope that can only come from the strength of those you love pouring their love from their hearts into yours.
I killed me to leave my parents and their never-ending words of wisdom and encouragement. It was so hard to leave that feeling of deep love and comfort that only a parent can give to a child. It was so hard to leave my brother and his adorable family who live in Alaska and who I only see once a year. It was so hard to leave my other siblings after 10 days of laughing so hard I thought I would puke, telling stories, hanging out, playing one game after the other, and re-living the care-free life of our wonderful childhoods with them. It killed me to leave the safe walls of the home I grew up in and the 2 1/2 acres of calm beautiful landscape that I could play in forever. It was a hard goodbye, and I felt like my heart could just burst. I almost bit my tongue off trying not to burst into tears and cry until there was nothing left. I was the typical me though. I just got quiet, hugged everyone goodbye, and suffered in silence. My heart was screaming. You would think after all that has happened, that I would be comfortable crying and letting it all go, in front of people by now. Nope..I guess some things never change. I guess I just wanted to stay in my little safe bubble, free from the pains of the world, forever.
But....I am so glad that we were able to come home to a place where we also feel warmth, love and peace. We have so many incredible friends here and such an awesome ward. I felt like I was being handed from one set of loving hands into another. I have two homes now. My heart is in two places. Although I am so homesick I feel like I could just turn around and drive back there right now, I also feel glad to be back and glad to continue on with this journey life is giving us. The Lord NEVER leaves us alone. I am so grateful that he got our family here to Colorado, Springs and into the hands of so many truly exceptional people before he placed these burdens on our hearts and minds. He has never left us alone.
My batteries are re-charged and I am ready to face life head-on once more.