Missing lots of people tonight.
My mind is still spinning as I haven’t had a chance to really let myself think about it ever since we turned the corner and pulled into the drive. I stepped out of the van, thinking we had 45 minutes to eat, use the bathroom, get the kids squared away with a guardian, and process the fact that half the world just died. Goodbye…It’s so hard to say goodbye…
Instead, a vaguely familiar man pulled me aside. There was a crowd of men on a Saturday afternoon waiting by the moving truck. “You’re just the one I need”, he said. “Come with me.” I got in the car with a man I didn’t know and he took me for a ride down the hill to the camp kitchen. We had to get the frozen rock hard meat put away right away.
The parsonage deep freeze was never ours. Styrofoam coolers carried the precious cargo. Breastmilk from two babies ago. Chicken from Aldi. The venison from Gus. The sausage from Keith. The twenty pounds of carrots from Brenda. I haven’t told many people this, but as nice as it was, I couldn’t bring myself to keep the beef tongue from 2010.
I think his name was Dave–so many new people and faces. In daylight dark he and I unloaded the coolers into the freezers. This kitchen smells the same. The walls, the ceilings, the no air conditioning in the 120 degrees. Everything we loved about it, everything is the same. All it needs now are campers with a little bit of late night pretzels and French onion dip.
He drove me back to the house. I saw Jake–the first face from another life. Again I was taken aside. He said, “I know you’re super busy, but these guys are itching to get this truck unloaded. We need you to tell us where to put it all.” Every earthly possession passed before my eyes. A few more guys in big trucks drove past the house and parked on the hill.
Ethan. Elianna. Judah. Joshua…
Where is John? Has anyone seen John?
We found him!
“Okay”, I said to Jake, the best man in our wedding, giving him a hug like I gave him a kiss before his mom died. It’s the kiss of history and common bonds and brotherly love and you better believe if anyone else in this world loves the man I love more than anyone else in this world more than me then it’s you. That kind of loyalty is more precious than gold.
You don’t turn down a love like that.
Good Lord, You got this.
The ham sandwich can wait.