I miss the way the air smelled in Aberdeen. I miss my forest. I miss hearing bombs go off at random times and shaking the house. I miss having dear friends over for tri-tip. I miss going to the Walkers' house. I miss watching Samson play with Charlie and Angus. I miss hanging out at Beth's while Gabe was at work. I miss walking around downtown Southern Pines. I miss the rude customer service (but only slightly). I miss being an Army wife. I miss having lazy days with Sam. I miss the
thunderstorms. I miss hanging out with Jen and getting a tan. I miss teaching Sunday School at Village. I miss the Smedburgs and the O'Briants and all the other wonderful people there. I miss the drive home from base. Yes... I even miss base. I miss the ground. I miss the crazy mutant bugs. I miss our tree. I miss the annoying brown signs everywhere. I miss the lawn that Gabe nurtured back to life. I miss the toads. I do NOT miss the spiders.
I miss a lot of things in and about North Carolina. But I am also so very grateful to be here. I feel like God has looked at me and said, "I'd like to make her life wonderful." So in my short time He's given me all I need to be happy and enjoy life. Regretfully, I have a history of not appreciating those things. I used to absolutely hate NC. I thought it was an abomination upon the country. I thought the whole state was cursed. If someone told me 3 years ago that I would eventually call it home I would have been offended. But it is home. It will always be home. It has a very special place in my heart and it is "home" in it's own unique way. Like Morgan Hill is home in it's own way. And like I am sure Salinas will one day be home in still another way. North Carolina - Raeford, Aberdeen, even Fort Bragg - is precious to me and I will cherish it's memory forever.
It took me a while to be grateful for NC and I don't want to make that mistake again. I long for things that have had to change, but not really in a sad way... I feel honored that I was able to have those things - even deployment - because now they're a part of me in a way that only my Creator fully understands. The longing I feel when I think of laying on the floor watching the lightning is similar to the longing I feel when I think about walking with Jesus. Maybe I'm afforded these sweet memories in order to give me a taste of what it will be like to be Home (the real "Home"). Maybe all the moments in my life which have connected a particular setting to me in the peculiar way that made it familiar and close have been for that purpose. Perhaps the simplest things that I've overlooked in doing but held affectionately to in memory have been things which have reminded me of the one place I've never been, but know I belong. All the things I've loved here are things that can't even compare to what God has prepared for me, they can only mimic it faintly... and even the faintest depiction stirs my soul.
I was thinking of all those things I miss in North Carolina today on the drive home and as I remembered them I was staring at rolling green hills and tall eucalyptus trees and happy cows and fresh soil and the mist from the beach... If this fallen creation can be so beautiful what will Heaven be like? I think it would be silly to even try to know just yet. And I'm really quite happy with what we get: