Thursday, August 25, 2011

a conclusion to this chapter

It's hard to re-cap this summer's trials and triumphs in a short post, so I won't. You don't have to read this, but I'm writing to record all that the Lord has done in our lives this summer. 

This summer, we made a decision that involved Carson moving three hours away to pursue wildland fire-fighting while I stayed on in Spokane, took classes and worked with the church. We made this decision in February or March, several months out from the separation actually taking place.

It's great to plan ahead, but perhaps better to think through those decisions.

As you know, I cried like Carson was never coming back. I had no idea that I had so many tears stored up, no clue that I would be so emotional. He says he cried too (but I think he means that he was just sad). We quickly realized that we had made a decision that was good in theory (making more money this summer for school) but not our wisest. We were stuck in this situation because he was committed to work for the Forest Service and I was committed to take summer classes, do VBS, and various other commitments.

The plan was for him to be gone June - October or November, depending on when the fire season ended.

And then... he broke his foot on July 24. He was running with the guys on his crew and must have tripped or something. He thought it was "just sprained" so he kept running. I thought running on a sprained foot was bad for you, but either way, he kept going for a few miles and then it started to hurt horribly, so he went back. He got the day off work and went to the doctor in the morning. His foot was BROKEN. That night, he drove to Olympia with his foot in a boot and hobbling around on crutches.

The infamous cripple :(
So what's next?
We have prayed so much about the next step. Carson was given the opportunity to audit two language classes through Moody that will give him more advantage in his graduate studies, the classes beginning August  23. He was offered a job by a friend at church. It seemed that in all of our prayers, the Lord was leading Carson back to Spokane at the end of August.

Am I happy about this? 
Well, obviously! I am thrilled that we'll be together and convinced that absence DOES make the heart grow fonder. We've gotten closer (or at least more similar in mindset) during our separation and that's been so great!

Was the summer hard? 
Yes. But as I've said to a lot of people, I was very busy. Carson was the one who probably took it hardest - he had lonely nights and weekends whereas I was surrounded by friends. He worked Sundays and missed out on fellowship while I live with solid, amazing people and go to a fabulous church. I'm not saying I didn't miss him - I do, and I've noticed that I don't sleep as well when he's gone (even though I've had two roommates this summer).

How was the summer good?
The six classes I was able to take, helping teach for VBS, spending time with friends, going to Pennsylvania, going to see Carson twice (and him visiting also), living with two wonderful girls (Josie and Erica), going to two weddings... but I would say that most of all, we've both grown spiritually.

I can see it in Carson more than in myself. He's had a hard time being alone over there, his only company the neighbor's dog (which he befriended by sneaking her sausage dogs...knew he'd be a sucker for dogs after all). But the Lord has definitely used this time in his life. He's done a LOT of reading - philosophy, history, literature, languages - and is always excited to share his findings. He has a ton of time to read Scripture and pray, and the quietness of the setting he's in at night certainly lends to his getting to read and meditate. He's become more driven (if that's possible), more intentional, more gentle when we're together, more patient, more understanding, quicker to listen, to encourage, and to share his love for me.

Most of all, I've seen him grow in his acceptance of "the foot thing". He was so excited to go and fight fires, hoping to go on assignment and be active all summer, and then a pesky little bone had to go and break. But all the Lord had been doing in his life was evident as he confirmed that he was totally fine with the break, trusting God for the next step.

We wrote letters back and forth and while mine are basically a play-by-play written the way I talk, happy and cheery, his are rather wordy, eloquent and even romantic. Comparing the letters makes me laugh. He addresses his to me in a different way each time on the envelope ("The Beautiful Redhead"; "Lindsay, daughter of David, of the Island of Browns") and seals each one with a wax seal. He did the same during our long-distance summer of dating, and I absolutely love it. I need a box for these letters. I'm sentimental and don't want to lose them.

If you're wondering how to pray, here are some specifics: Since Carson has been gone for about a week short of three months, getting used to living life together is going to be strange. The dynamics are different since his work schedule isn't crazy and I'm not working but going to school full-time. But learning to live together has already proved to be strange. We've lived "alone" (I had roommates) for the summer, and the time before that was honestly not super scheduled so we didn't have a routine at all. I'm looking forward to having that pattern to our days. Please pray for us to figure it out and to grow closer!

What about the next chapter?
This fall, Carson will work full-time, audit a second year of Greek and a first year of German (his job has really flexible hours that allow for the classes AND will allow him to be home at night!). I will not be working, but taking classes full-time. We'll continue to live in the Reilly Building, clean the church and do ministry with CTR. Carson is applying to graduate programs right now but we probably will not have news on that until March. I intend to graduate in May of next year and in the summer following, will complete my internship requirements (couldn't this summer because of classes). We will probably move next summer after finding out where we'll get to go for grad school.
This could very well be our last year in Spokane, but we know that the Lord is the one who determines our steps.

Or in Carson's case, our crutches :)

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