Surreal

Welcome Sign

July 8, 2017. It was a rushed morning. Well, it felt that way to me anyway. There were still a few things that needed to be done at the house. I still had to finish packing the car. I was up late the previous night and had decided to sleep in a little longer than I had originally planned. Of course, I had also built in a bit of flex time, so it wasn’t like I was really “behind.” But it still felt rushed.

As I walked through the now empty house, the emotions started to build. It was only six years prior that Christina and I were picking out fixtures and cabinets for our new home. Now here I was moving out of it, with the hopes that it would sell soon. So many memories tied to this home. Was it really happening? My heart skipped a beat and I could feel the lump welling up in my throat. Yes. It was really happening.

Surreal.

9am. It was time. The car was packed and there was nothing left for me to do. We stood there in the drive way with Christina’s parents. By this time, we had all already shed so many tears as we all came to the same realization. Yes, this was really happening. We lingered for a few minutes before saying our final “goodbyes.” Then the kids and I piled into the car.

I find it difficult to describe the feeling as I pulled out of my driveway for the last time. “The last time.” There’s a lot of weight in that thought. I could almost feel the heaviness sitting on my shoulders. We had said “yes” to God and were beginning our five-day drive to Colorado Springs. We were leaving our home, everything that was familiar to us, and the people that had been our support system for the last five years. I looked in my rear view mirror and saw my in-laws standing in my driveway watching us drive away. They were crying; so were the kids. My own eyes blurred and burned from the heat of the tears welling up in them. The drive out of the neighborhood felt a bit longer today, like it was going by in slow motion. It was weird.

Surreal.

Kids at Grave9:25am. We stopped by the cemetery. It just didn’t feel right leaving Orlando without checking in on Christina’s grave. I didn’t feel a need to say “goodbye” again. Truth be told, it was probably the first time I had been to see the grave in many months. But it just didn’t feel right leaving without stopping by, just for a few minutes. The kids and I stood by her grave discussing our trip: the excitement; the anticipation; the heartache; the realization that we didn’t know when we would stand here again.

We finally got on the road at 9:30am, an hour and a half after I had originally wanted. Finally, we were on our way into the unknown. We knew our destination. We knew our stops along the way. We knew where we would stay for the next 10 days. After that, everything was a mystery. Yes, I was a little bit nervous. But deep down, I knew that God was in control and that everything would work out. I just didn’t know how.

It’s now been 52 days since we left Orlando. So much has happened in a short amount of time. What has arguably been the coolest thing that happened was how we came to be at our new apartment. I swear we looked at every apartment complex in Colorado Springs. We only found one that had a three-bedroom apartment available for us to move into. On the same day that our hotel reservation ended. Which also happened to be the same day that the moving company told me they would be dropping off our furniture. God? Was that You? Hmmm.

Moving Truck

The kids and I have been having so many adventures. Between unpacking and getting our apartment set up and checking out our new surroundings, we’ve been quite busy.

 

 

view-from-apartment.jpg

Colorado is a beautiful state and we’re right smack dab in the middle of it. Our apartment complex feels more like a resort. We have a view of the mountains from our balcony.

 

GOTG

 

We’ve found a favorite outdoors spot in Garden of the Gods. Bonus! It’s free!

 

 

View from Pikes Peak

 

We’ve been to the top of the highest peak in Colorado Springs (Pikes Peak, 14,150 feet above sea level).

 

 

 

Royal Gorge

 

We’ve seen the highest suspension bridge in the US. Truth be told, I feel like we’ve been on an extended vacation.

 

 

It’s still weird.  Colorado doesn’t really feel like home yet. I find myself lying in bed in the morning, looking out my bedroom window at Pikes Peak asking myself “did we really do this?” Even though the answer is obvious, it’s still a bit unbelievable. Like some kind of “energizer bunny” coaster ride, it just “keeps going.” Every time I turn around I see God working: making sure that we are provided for, making sure that I don’t get in my own way (as I often do). It’s like the stories you hear from people like Billy Graham, telling us how God did something or made something happen that was unmistakably Him. There’s no other way to explain it. Yet, here I am living my own story of Gods miraculous care.

Surreal.

I don’t want to discount all the other ways that God has taken care of me and my family through the years. The great part about living for God is the ability to look back and see His handiwork all over my life. He has guided me through life, whether it be the good times or bad, in everything leading up to this moment, this journey, this place. He always prepares me for what He has next, which, at this point in time, only He knows. I’m okay with that. Frankly, I’m still too busy admiring His canvas here in Colorado to be concerned about what’s going to happen next.

Surreal.

5 thoughts on “Surreal

  1. Dawn Jackson

    Stephen your bravery and love for God is an amazing inspiration. Your children are being raised with the security of a father’s love, but also with the security that God is with them. When I first met your lovely wife, my son was dying. Christina was concerned and prayed with me. She was also concerned about her family and how they would eventually need to get along without her. She kept in touch all through your move to Florida and until she began her new adventure with the Lord. I know she is following your journey and that she is pleased for you and your children. May God continue to bless you and your children .
    Dawn Jackson (retired kindergarten teacher at First Baptist School of Laurel)

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    1. Thank you Dawn. I appreciate all of that. I enjoy hearing how Christina touched other people’s lives. She truly was a special woman. I miss her dearly. She would have really enjoyed this trip. Although, I often wonder if it would have happened if she were still here. 🤔

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  2. Paula Reddix

    Wow! I’m at a lost for words. To have met you through a dear friend that met Christina through their illness, I cannot stop admiring your bravery Stephen.I’m so blessed to have met you and your amazing kids. Keep the stories coming I love hear all about the strong faith you have and the thongs you do.
    Good luck with your journey.
    Love
    Paula

    Like

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