a shore thing

So much time has passed. I’ve been too busy (and then too tired) to blog. Tragic, really.

The beach trip was absolutely fabulous. It was exactly what I needed. Spending time with the old neighborhood crew was so refreshing. The older I get, the more and more I value the connections I have with the people who knew me in childhood. They are my roots. They are where I came from. There was such a huge part of our lives that we shared only with each other, and outsiders just don't, can't, never will understand, no matter how well we try to explain it to them. It seems like there is a part of me that lies dormant most of the time, which only comes to life in the presence of these certain (amazing) people. Because they understand why I'm called Sabie Mokie and Little Buckaroo. They know how Alex bit off part of his tongue. They know what it means to be in the Big Kid Club, to ride in the way back, to play color wolf and "being bored." They know that Ashley wants to be 19 and named Shelly, that Stacy will not part with her Tweety Bird slammer, that jinxing Maggie is not allowed. It seems silly and minor, but it's a powerful bond, and every time we're together, we pick right back up where we left off. It's always tremendously fun to take these trips down memory lane (or, in this case, memory sidewalk.) It was fantastic to have enough time together to get caught up on each other's lives, to really talk, to connect not only to our childhood, but also to each other as the people we are now. I plan on doing a better job at staying in touch with these wonderful friends.

I was sad to leave them, but the wedding weekend was really great as well. The preparation was more work than I had anticipated, but everything looked absolutely beautiful, so it was all worth it. My dress still didn’t really fit well, so I was fairly self conscious about this throughout the evening. I tried to feel pretty anyway, but was largely unsuccessful (pun not intended, but rather enjoyed.) Still, I had a tremendous amount of fun. In fact, it was, by far, the most fun wedding reception I’ve ever been to. Highlights were (1) flat-footing to the fantastic old time music as provided by Martha and company and (2) the send-off, complete with getaway boat and a plethora of sparklers. Katie looked positively stunning, and she and Nathan were clearly giddy the whole time. It was impossible not to see how excited and in love they are. I am incredibly happy for them. And I’m already plotting my trip to Boston. ;)

I returned to Radford Sunday evening. My mom was already at my apartment (my dad had dropped her off there on their way back from the beach) so that she could come to my endocrinologist appointment with me on Monday morning. The appointment was mostly uneventful, but went well. For one thing, I asked about the muscle cramps I’ve been having. I don’t know that I have mentioned these before, but I’ve been having sporadic, Charlie-horse-like cramps in various and seemingly random parts of my body at random times throughout the day. I assumed that since the thyroid, I now know, controls everything in the universe, it was to blame. My doctor confirmed that my low hormone levels (due to my lack of thyroid) were probably the culprit, but assured me that they will go away as my hormones get back to normal. Indeed, I haven’t had as many cramps in the past week or so as I had been having, so things are improving. On a less positive note, it seems that I am still gaining weight despite my efforts not to overeat. My doctor cautioned me that many people who become “normal” (as if I could ever be normal! ha!) after having been hyperthyroid have trouble cutting back simply because they are used to actually needing to overeat because of the too-fast metabolism that comes with having an overactive thyroid. I think I’ve done well with avoiding this pitfall, but I think I’m going to have to do something a little more than “try not to overeat.” Admittedly, I have not done a good job at getting into any sort of exercise routine, mostly because the muscle cramps sort of got in the way. Also, even walking for a very long period of time has become uncomfortable. My lower back hurts a lot; it feels as if I’m constantly, involuntarily, arching my back. I used to be an avid gymnastics fan, and I now understand what commentators mean when they talk about a gymnast “getting used to her new body” after gaining what might seem like a small amount of weight. I feel very uncomfortable, even physically, in my body. I literally don’t know how to even stand up right. (When I typed that just now, I accidentally forgot the space and wrote “upright” instead of “up right.” Way to keep things in perspective. I can’t stand up right, but at least I can, in fact, stand upright. ;))) Hopefully, now that things have calmed down a bit, I’ll be able to really concentrate on working on this weight thing.

I was utterly exhausted (as I am a lot these days) when Mom and I got home from Radford on Monday night. I had almost forgotten that I had been recruited to help with VBS at church this week. This is something I always do, and always enjoy, but, because I knew I’d have to miss the first two days, I didn’t volunteer this year. Even so, I was asked to help lead music on the remaining days, and I had vaguely said I’d do it. I didn’t on Monday, deciding they’d understand that I’m exhausted, but Tuesday, I couldn’t think of a valid excuse, so I went. Of course, once I was there, it was quite fun. Lots of adorable kids. And worshipping God with kids is always a blessing. Sensing their sincerity and innocence gives me hope for the future, and it helps me get in touch with the part of myself that still has faith like a child.

"I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3-4)

And, as fun and catchy as the other songs were, I was especially pleased that a great hymn, Were You There, was also included. Listening to their little voices sings those words, and, it being VBS and all, watching them do the accompanying hand motions, I really got a sense that they understood exactly what the song is about. We just don’t give kids enough credit sometimes. They get things better then we think they do. They are not too young to understand love. They are not too young to be transformed by the grace of our Lord, Jesus Christ. I am thankful that God allowed me a part in the process. Even though I was exhausted, even though I am sick, even though I have fallen short, failed, He chose to use me. What a crazy and compassionate God I serve!

VBS ended Friday night, Alex came home, and the family headed to Radford yesterday (Saturday) morning to move me out of the apartment, which—praise God—we finally found someone to rent. It went pretty smoothly on the whole. I had taken home a bunch of stuff already, so there really wasn’t THAT much to pack up. Still though, it was a lot of work, especially for Dad and Alex. I wasn’t sure if I was going to be happy or sad, and, as it turned out, I was really neither. I was numb, and mostly, I still am. What I did feel was guilt about my family having to spend a day doing all this work just for me. They didn’t deserve to have to do that. But I guess they don’t deserve any of this. They don’t deserve any of what I’ve put them through this year. I have lied to them. I have hidden things from them. I have been too proud to be open with them. I have projected my frustration with myself onto them. I have made them sick with worry. I have hurt them. And here they are, loving me anyway. I truly cannot express my thankfulness. I never will be able to, as long as I live. My family has demonstrated God’s love for me in such a tangible way. As my Heavenly Father does, my earthly mother and father have said, “we’re here,” and they have taken me into their arms, and, quite literally, brought me home.

Sometimes, it causes me to tremble.