After 4 wonderful days with them, we thanked the Lord for great family then jumped back in our car and headed 3 hours north and arrived in Louisville by dinnertime. I was really looking forward to being back for a little bit, but hadn't fully thought about what it would be like to drive past our old apartment…and life. It hit me out of no where and I broke down into tears. As I wiped my cheeks I realized how thankful I still am for the time we spent in Louisville, and for the ways in which God shaped us while we were there. It was a very difficult and trying time, but also a much simpler time for the two of us. As Brent consoled his bubbling mess of a wife, we continued to drive and he dropped me off with some old coworkers and went off to meet up with a couple of his really great guy friends. We were only going to be in Louisville one full day and another 1/2 day [so if you're reading this and wondering why I didn't even let you know or why we didn't stop by…that is why. It was very brief and we didn't even have time for what we thought we would! Next time though…let's get together? :)] My coworkers [read here for my reflection on time with them and scroll to bottom for pictures] and I got together for our second annual "last supper." We laughed until our stomachs hurt as we always do and reflected on what it was like to teach without one another this past year…which we all decided was not nearly as wonderful as teaching together. The next day I was able to go to my old school and visit with many wonderful past colleagues of mine.
Thursday Brent and I fit in a wonderful meal with some great friends before driving Northeast another 2 hours to Florence, KY to see our "lifers" [a term I lovingly assigned them a couple years ago when I decided they would be life-long friends of ours]. We got there later than we had hoped, but ended up staying up until 2:30 that morning because we had SO much to talk about. We spent the remainder of the weekend there, going to museums, shopping [girls], golfing [boys], eating!, dying hair [Meagan went RED!], and of course NERTZING until the wee hours of the morning. Sunday morning came all too quickly and we left early to get back to Louisville for church at the place our hearts miss deeply: Southeast Christian. It was painful to tell the Whites goodbye that morning, and painful to drive two hours back to Louisville on hardly any sleep, and painful to know we had 9 more hours in the car ahead of us: but worshiping back at Southeast was a brief moment of peace for our mourning hearts.
We were on the road back to Missouri by 9:30 our time, and slept like rocks that evening. Mom met us at our house with stuff for tacos…and it was truly wonderful to be home again.
My heart is still aching a little for the people we said ecstatic HELLOS and heartbreaking GOODBYES to last week.
I knew our time with Kali and Dan would be wonderful. It always is. And we see them often enough to know where we stand with them. But the others? It had been over a year since we had seen most of them. I was overwhelmed with emotions as we drove back into town, yes, but also some nerves. I wondered if it would all be the same? I wondered if time had changed us too much? I wondered if our conversations would be filled with too many "remember whens" and not enough of the present. But my fears were abated. From the second I felt their arms around me, things were the same. We couldn't shut up. We couldn't stop laughing. And the goodbyes were just as painful as they were last June when it was "for real." We absolutely love being close to our families here in Missouri. But we often have moments of heartache for the friends we left behind. This vacation was a much needed time for us, and although we are sad it is over, we enjoyed it too much to think it won't happen again.
We drove nearly 1700 miles in 9 days and travelled to/through 5 different states [MO, KY, OH, TN, IN]. Our bank statement took a hit. Our exhausted bodies took a hit. But every moment was totally worth it. Thanks to all of you who fed us, took us into your homes, and entertained us. We love you dearly. We miss you already.