Tuesday, September 2, 2008

"Oh, the Places You'll Go" Part 1

These posts are probably going to be long (when are mine ever short?)...and they are more for my heart to remember where we've been over the course of this "year-ish," but I'm sharing anyway, just in case you're interested in a glimpse of our young married life.
This is the song I referred to way back in post #1. We felt like it was a good theme, since we were going for a crazy ride this year. Yes, we were moved out of our comfort zone into a plan greater than ours. We were stretched and have grown...

I guess I'm going to start back at the beginning. So, a little more than a year and a half ago (about 19 months ago), Matt and I were married (December 16, 2006!). In March, Matt got that packet in the mail notifying him that he had been recalled into the Marine Corps for 1 year. Matt served 5 years active duty and had the final 3 years of inactive duty to wrap up. He was a little over 1 year into his "inactive duty" stint when he was recalled. In April, he was sent to Kansas City to get more information and another set of his orders. That's when we knew October was looming around the corner. I am thankful Matt did not have to leave right away, but I must admit March to October was at times, a dreadfully long time.

On October 21st, around 8am, I said goodbye to Matt at the airport. It was a difficult thing, yet a comforting thing, to have so many family members there. I was so thankful to get an access pass to the gate to see Matt off. I had no idea that was a possibility until Matt checked in, and the sweet lady at the counter offered it to me. I about let down my flood gates right there in thankfulness. That gave us a few minutes of alone time before he boarded that plane. Ugh, those feelings come up just remembering that time. We don't have any pictures of that day, and honestly, I'm kind of glad we don't. You see, when troops are recalled, in the Marine Corps. anyway, their orders are written unaccompanied whether the troops are married or not. Had his orders been accompanied, you better believe I would've been on that plane too! The first day was not an easy one. In fact, it twists my stomach just thinking back. I forced myself to go to Sunday School and Church, but to be completely honest, I just wanted to be alone. Throughout his time away, I struggled with the concept of home. I felt a sort of homesick no matter where I was...at our apartment, at my parents' house, in the car...and my apartment wasn't particularly comforting. Despite the fact that it's a basement etc. etc. ;), everything reminded me of Matt. We are best friends, husband and wife, and as long as I'm with him...I find comfort. I think this time definitely enhanced my perspective that this world is not our home. Just as I longed to be close to Matt, the Lord longs to be close to us. Just as I waited for a phone call or email, the Lord waits for our communication with Him. Just as I waited for the day to meet Matt again, so we ought to long for the time we will be in heaven with our Lord and Savior.

In November, I was able to make it out for a long weekend during the Marine Corps Birthday Ball. We ended up going to the wrong ball at first, but made it to the right one just in time. We didn't stay for the dancing (of course), but I must say, it was an experience, and I thoroughly enjoyed the cheesecake! Because Matt's orders were unaccompanied, he and the rest of the recalled guys stayed in the barracks. Barely scraping enough money together to make it out (Matt's pay was a little messed up for "awhile"), ...can you keep a secret? I ended up staying in those little lovely's too. It wasn't exactly a honeymoon suite, but I was able to be with Matt. My birthday was the next week, so we celebrated early with a little ice cream cake! I flew home, and my birthday came and so did some red roses and a special note. Thanksgiving was a tough one...we have never actually spent a Thanksgiving together because of different circumstances. I'm thinking this year's will be really special!

December trudged in, but we were blessed. Family and friends helped make it possible for me to fly out the 5th and stay until the day after Christmas (which ended up being 2 days after Christmas due to weather delays)! That means, for me to come out, we needed a hotel room. I wasn't going to stay in his room again, especially for that long and on days he worked. We also needed a rental car to get around (because Matt was unable to bring a vehicle to base). All of these things really add up, especially after a flight during the holidays. Those family and friends, and the Lord's grace, literally made it happen! We had such a wonderful time and were able to celebrate our first wedding anniversary (that was so important to me)...at Balboa Park. We also exchanged our Christmas gifts that day because I wanted to enjoy the time and not be an emotional wreck because I was to leave the next day. We went to Disneyland...the first time EVER for either of us (to Disneyland or Disney World). We also visited the San Diego Zoo (so cool) and Wild Animal Park. We found a church we really enjoyed and met a couple who were originally from our little town and my college. They gave us a grand tour of San Diego and took us out for many lunches. We had to make several changes to my flight to stay the length I was able to, and finally, on December 26th we made our way to the airport again for my overnight flight home. When we arrived, we saw that my flight had been cancelled. Because I was not notified, the airline gave me some special niceties to make my next flight home more comfortable...which was scheduled for the next morning! Woohoo! I was so happy for more time with Matt, but it only left us with about 5 more hours together away from the airport. Back to the barracks we went (and his tiny single bed) because we had already checked out of the on-base hotel, and let's face it, we didn't want to spend 70something bucks for 5 hours. Matt was able to see me off each time through his military clearance, and I made my difficult flight home. Matt flew out to his destination the next day.

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