Our family just returned from our summer vacation. We took a trip and spent a week on the Oregon coast with Patrick's family. The weather and scenery were spectacular, the food and drink most enjoyable, and the best thing of all was the fellowship among us (14 in all). We all came from our little corner of the country to celebrate family, and it was good. It wasn't perfection, but it was wonderful and I'm so glad that all of us went.
Some of the highlights of our trip were:
*catching crabs out in the bay and then cooking them for supper
*catching a starfish
*searching for starfish in the tide pools
*seeing the waterfalls
*Maddie surfing in a wet suit
*Daddy and Michael and Marky kayaking
*eating delicious food that Aunt Bunny cooked and Uncle Michael caught
*looking at picture slides and laughing at our Uncles when they were babies
*lighting wish lanterns
*walks along the beach, looking for sand dollars
*sleeping in and staying up late
* rushing, rushing, rushing to the gate to catch our flight
*mommy almost not making it onto the flight
On our first day in Oregon, our rental car was broken into and my purse was stolen, along with our camera bag (the camera wasn't in it). Everything "comforting" for vacation was in my bag...chapstick, kleenex, Advil, bandaids, etc. Everything convenient. Things I planned to read and do, gone. Not to mention the hassle of losing my drivers license, my credit cards, my library card, insurance cards.
As we were dealing with the shock of what had happened, I could feel myself getting afraid. Fear of mean people, fear of the unexpected, fear of what was going to happen next, fear that even at a beautiful waterfall we weren't protected. I could also feel my kids watching my reaction and in order to keep THEM from being afraid, I had to switch gears. I couldn't stop my tears, and decided that the kids didn't need protected from my disappointment, but what they did need was for me to point us in the direction of gratitude. We started a search for things to be thankful for. My daughter's ipad wasn't touched; the camera was around my neck and not in the camera bag; the theif didn't take any of our suitcases; I had taken my cell phone out of my purse at the last minute; my husbands computer and various other ipods were overlooked; the bag that was stolen wasn't mommy's favorite bag; most importantly of all, nobody was injured. The fear was still holding me by the throat, but not as fiercly as I watched gratitude lift our sad faces. We switched gears and as a team, we all calmed down and moved into the action of phone calls and such, attempting to protect what we weren't even sure of.
I have had nearly a week to mull over the loss of my things and how it has affected me. I know that there are many, many people who have much sadder, hurtful, awful things to deal with. I also know that not having my new portable dvd player with my favorite movies to entertain me is CLEARLY as my friend Joy says, "a first world problem", but that didn't stop me from feeling disaapointed, feeling violated, feeling sad. I sat on the beach one afternoon, praying through my feelings and trying to listen to what I was supposed to be learning from this incident. I felt the Lord speak to my spirit about how tightly I hold onto things. Earlier in the month, it was brought to my attention that I am extremely possessive. I'm not trying to be possessive in a negative way, I just love things and people way too deeply. I hold on way too tightly. I get way too affected over hurts and spend way too much time mulling over insensitive words. I tend to have a death grip on relationships and don't give people the freedom to lose interest in "us". I've been living with the idea that the bags that I pack and people that I know and circumstances that I'm involved with are forever. Its time to change that. Its time to loosen my grip and untie knots. It's high time to pry my possessive hands off and open them up to recieve. I am praying for the wisdom and balance to love and then trust. To not shut off desire in efforts to self-protect, but instead risk loving (less tightly) knowing that God has my heart and my life in His hands.
We are now home from vacation and the reality of lost IDs and credit cards has steamrolled into a long to-do list. One thing at a time - it will get done. In the mean time, we will look at our pictures and our seashells and talk of the memories from our 2012 vacation for a very long time.