Thursday, July 18, 2013


The familiar weight settles onto my chest. My breathing becomes shallow until I am suddenly aware that my chest is barely moving and yet somehow I’m not passed out on the floor. My eyes are glued to the screen as I scroll from one picture to another, or as I watch each precious video and savor each millisecond of the man I loved. As I let the tenor of his sweet voice speak deeply into my soul, into a place that no one else has or will ever reach. This is all I have left. These moments where I give in to the tears and let the hurt become real and apparent once again. They don’t last long; life is too mobile, too demanding for this to be anything more than a few moments in time. I don’t have these moments often, sometimes once a month. I don’t know how often I’ll feel up to this. At times my heart says no, reassures me that I don’t have to endure this to remember John. He lives in me, in my children, in my ministry, in my heart. I can move on in my life and still love and remember him. But then there’s just days when that’s not enough. Days when diving head-first into the sorrow is the only way to purge the deep hurt from my heart. Days when I know that avoiding it will only allow it to bottle up somewhere inside me and fester until I think about it constantly.

August 28th is coming up very soon. It’s been on my mind and heart so often these past few weeks because it’s a milestone I never saw coming, and I hate with all my being having to acknowledge that it is. Writing this is my way of working through what’s in my head and hoping that putting it on a page will stop it from swirling around up there constantly.

My name is Amber, and I was widowed at the age of 23. 5 days before my 24th birthday, actually. Happy birthday to me, right? My husband was 27 and we had been married for 5 years and had brought two children into the world. The oldest, Airalynn, was almost 3 at the time of his death, and the youngest, Elenie, was 9 months. This August 28th marks the 2 year anniversary of his death. My children, especially the youngest, don’t really remember him. We talk about him sometimes, but the only one with memories is me. Man, that hurts. Because as much as Airalynn looks like him and as much as I remember her birth and how John made me mad in the delivery room by having chicken breath, she doesn’t know him. Oh, this hurts. My youngest, whom he affectionately nicknamed “Mad Baby”, will never remember how he looked at her and how amazing she was to him. But as much as that pains me to write, to think, what is infinitely worse to me is the fear that someday….someday…I won’t remember either. I experienced a moment of terror last week when it occurred to me that I remember very little about our interaction, his work schedule, what we talked about the week before he died. I do remember the day before, very clearly, because it was one of the best days we’d had as a family. I had a soccer game that morning, we both got sunburned, John watched the girls and cheered me on. Then we hung out that afternoon and attended a company pool party in the evening.

But what if the rest of it gets blurred? I’ve considered writing down everything I can remember so that I can come back to the computer and read memories back to myself, to the girls. But every time I think of doing that, I get exhausted at the thought of diving that deep into memory and trying not to miss anything. And I avoid the pain. Sometimes I think I’ve done a terrible job of being a widow. Which is another reason I decided to sit down and write some things.

                I know that I have nothing to prove, justify, or seek approval for. I have made life choices that have not all been the best, but they are my choices and anyone who believes I’ve done a terrible job can just step right into my shoes and try walking around awhile. If you think you could do a better job, you go on ahead and see what this feels like. I’m sure some have lived this and done it more gracefully than I, showed more restraint, delayed big decisions wisely. But that is not how my life has gone. It isn’t how it went with John, and it seems to be continuing in a similar fashion without him. A little over a year after John died, I married Jeremy. He has been a God-send to me and to my daughters. In fact, his kindness and genuine love for my girls was the very first thing I noticed about him. I was certainly not sure that I was doing the right thing by letting him into our lives and I told him in no uncertain terms that I was a mess and he didn’t want to get involved with someone broken like me. Apparently he did. He stuck around and would not be moved until one day in September I told him we might as well get married so we could really be a family. He proposed and we were married in October, one month later. I don’t believe in long engagements. John and I were engaged for 2 months.

                The past year I have not done everything right. I believe I have been insensitive to John’s family unknowingly while trying to deal with what was right before me. Moving on in my life has looked a certain way to me, but I’m not sure they would agree with my perspective and probably think I moved way too fast. But they are extremely gracious and loving people and have never breathed a word of negativity about my life choices. And I love them dearly for that, and for many other reasons. But in writing all of this down, I didn’t want to miss the chance to let them know that I’m sorry if I have hurt you, missed chances to show you compassion and to grieve with you, or forgotten your feelings in anything I have done. I love each of you so much and you have become true family to me over the past 7 years. I couldn’t have asked for better in-laws.

                But here I am, 2 years out from the worst moment in my life, and I can truly say that my life is beautiful. It has always been a beautiful picture of God’s grace, but never more than now. I have been offered the love of two incredible men who are full of integrity, passion, and love Jesus. And I have accepted that love and managed to open my heart to each of them in their own time. With Jeremy it has taken me much longer, as could be expected, but he is becoming more and more a part of who I am. Honoring and loving one man’s memory while giving my devotion to another has been extremely difficult, and I’m certain I’m still not doing it right. But I know that I’m trying and I know that God’s grace is sufficient for me in my weakness. It hasn’t been easy for Jeremy and he’s made mistakes as well, but we are committed to this family and to God and are excited for the life we are blessed to live each day with one another. As always, that little voice in the back of my head reminds me that neither of us is guaranteed tomorrow, but I refuse to let that voice instill fear in me or cause me to hide from love or commitment. I don’t know what tomorrow brings, but I know who holds the future.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

I can't.

Do you ever hear a song that transports you to another time, place, or emotion? And as much as you would like to keep from going back, to feeling the sadness or regret or deep emotion that it brings to the surface, the rhythm and tones play your heart into a different beat and drag your mind to remembering.

How He Loves by David Crowder is that song for me.

He used to play it at church, with his friends, from his heart, with his hands.

It was played at his funeral along with a slideshow of his life.

It is a reminder of the grace and mercy of God.

It is a reminder of the pain and loss.

It is a reminder that I did endure that pain, and that I am different because of it.

It is a reminder of the father that my kids will never remember clearly.

It hurts like the ache of a broken heart.

It reminds me that I need to remember.

It reminds me that I need to thank God for his love.

I never want to hear it again; I want to hear it every day, all day.

I desperately want to forget; I need to remember.


He was an ornery and energetic child. He was the mastermind behind all the really dangerous ideas. He drove his sister crazy, and did crazy things with his brother. He was a military brat and he was extremely proud of his heritage, and his father. I met him in college. He took my breath away. I never looked back. He took me places, he changed my life. He accepted me. He constantly challenged me and he never questioned instruction and direction from God. He loved ministry. He loved me.

He provided for me and came home and was my best friend. We had our first child. I decorated her room, painted the letters of her name in secret. She was born and he was in love. Again. Another blue-eyed girl had stolen his heart. Now he was not just husband, he was Daddy. When another blue-eyed girl was born, he didn’t know he could love another one so much. Now he loved three. He loved me.

5 years.

5 years he loved me.

And one day he didn’t come home. Not home to me.


Today is 14 months.

And I can’t forget. Won’t forget.

I won’t forget you.


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

I love you, John

My husband was a flawed man. There were many things that he did that I didn’t want to do that same way. There were a few relationships in his life that could have been better mended, kept in closer contact. There were even moments when I wished he would spend more time with his daughters instead of being out and about. But, for the most part, he was an incredible man. I feel like I need to put this first part in because if I don’t, some of you may think I idolize him, I think of him as a super hero, or I have looked past all his issues and promoted him to sainthood after his death. I assure you that is not the case.

                I met John when he was 21 and in college, so naturally he was a reckless kid. He seemed to have no fear, and his plan for the future was a little unclear. But the very first thing that anyone who met him had to notice was his passion for God. He was always playing guitar, hanging out and having theological discussions with his Christian (and atheist) friends, or going somewhere that other people would be. And for so long, I have misunderstood him.

                I had no idea you could learn more about who a person was after they died. But here I am, reeling from a discovery that I should have understood so long ago. You see, John understood Luke 5:31 more clearly than I. It says, “Jesus answered them, ‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.’” Another verse John absolutely loved was 1 John 2:6, “Anyone who claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.” The words in Luke come from Jesus, and are a testament to how he lived his life. Jesus walked from city to city speaking to groups of people, eating with the hated members of society, and letting the sick touch him. He didn’t go to church every Sunday, or at least that’s not recorded, and he didn’t hang out with only the people who were “good enough”. In fact, he corrected so many of the religious elite and told them that their religion was worthless because their hearts weren’t focused on God, but on their own glory. He let them know in no uncertain terms that their attendance record at the local synagogue meant diddly squat when it came to knowing God’s heart and doing his will.

                How will we meet the needs of the poor and the orphans if we spend no time where they are? How will we show light and life to the lost and broken if we avoid them? How will the man who offends us with his speech ever be inspired to hold his tongue if we simply stay away and never speak to him? Change doesn’t happen without inspiration. Inspiration comes from a life well-lived and a witness spoken with fewer words. Hanging out with your unbelieving friends doesn’t mean that every time you see them you go through the steps to salvation and speak in scriptures. It means that you spend time with them on their level, without participating in activities that are ungodly. You hang out at their house that smells like cigarette smoke and Indian food and you let them cook for you because you want to be their friend and find out what makes them tick. Because you want to accept their hospitality and show them the same. Because a Bible track that sits on a restaurant table for the server to read doesn’t have a face and a name that makes it real and personal. There’s an overused expression that fits my sentiment.

No one will care what you know until they know that you care.

How does this relate to John? Let me explain. The day he died, August 28, 2011, he was on a motorcycle ride. It was a simple route that he’d taken many times before to get from the base where we were stationed to an Air Force base about 20 minutes away. It was a Sunday, and the reason we weren’t at the house church we attended was because the girls and I were sick. The first thing John thought of when I suggested the girls and I stay home and not spread the cold we had, was that he could call up his two buddies and go for the ride they’d been meaning to do. He wanted to help his friend find a motorcycle jacket. So he arranged the time and place to meet, and since neither of his friends went to church, they were up for it. They met and left, and that ride was one that neither of his 2 friends will ever forget. John didn’t come home to me that day, but he did go home.

                Those 2 men were friends John had made since he first arrived in Korea, 10 months earlier. They were people he hung out with on a regular basis, people who knew what he stood for, but also knew that he loved to ride, loved to eat, and loved to talk. He had spent the months before I arrived in Korea eating and talking with these guys on a weekly basis, if not more. They were friendships he had invested in from day 1. John always had the talent for making friends with strange people. And I’ll tell you, Kahn was a strange guy. He was Indian by descent and loved to cook. He also drank like a fish and has a life story that includes a lot of mistakes, self-sufficiency, and darkness. His job is as a military investigator and he sees the worst of those he encounters. In fact, the day of the accident was not the first time he was present at the scene of an accident and fatality. That is his job.

                In the days after the accident, Leo Kahn came to talk to me, along with Shawn who had also been present. Kahn told me how much respect he had for John, how he knew that John believed in what he said and that his faith was genuine and certain. Somehow, John had lived in such a way that displayed his passionate faith, and his love for people. Faith and obedience to God cannot mean turning your back on faithless people. It cannot mean ignoring, mistreating, or judging them. God will judge them. Our job is to love them. To live our lives in truth and not to hide our faith, but to make time for people.

                The revelation that happened to me today was that John had been balancing so much in his life so well. When I met him in college, I thought he was just a guy who liked to talk, to argue, and to be around people. In our first few years of marriage I thought that he was insensitive to me because he constantly wanted to go out and didn’t understand why I wanted to stay home. I chalked that up to him loving a good time and making friends. At the time I didn’t understand the passion he had for people. He wanted to go out because that’s where the people are. He wanted to hang out with people I didn’t like so well because he was more comfortable in his own skin than I was. He knew his time was short.

He knew his time was short.

                He didn’t have to know his time on earth would only be 27 years, because we all have a short time on earth, we just don’t live like we understand that. 80 years or 18 years, it’s still short in the scheme of things. Compared to eternity, it’s a blink of an eye.

                John didn’t expect to get married. He thought he’d be single forever and be able to just focus on serving God completely with his life. His ministry might have been even greater had I not come along. But I did. He met me and married me. He now had so many things to balance: being the provider of his family, leading us spiritually, continuing outside ministry, and being an active member of a church body. Eventually we had children and he added fatherhood into that. When he joined the military he had to spend more time and effort in his job, more dedication to his skill. I remember us having less time to spend outside of the house and meeting fewer people outside of the church at this point. I think God was building us up and showing us how to invest in friendships in a safe environment before we ventured back into a more mixed environment. We both needed the encouragement. So when John moved to Korea, he had a chance to continue providing for his family, but to use his spare time to “do life” with new people. And those friendships were important to him.

That’s why, August 28, 2011, he got on his motorcycle and never came back. Because he loved those men like Jesus did and used the time he had to spend with them.

I don’t know if I’ll ever be as good at that as John was, as outgoing and talkative or brave. But I do know that he left a legacy for me, he invested in me and loved me more than I thought I deserved at the time. And his marriage to me was a great challenge for him. It was an opportunity for him to know what it means to love someone like Christ loved the church and gave his life up for it. I know I was good for him and that I helped him to grow and to change. Neither of us would have been the same without the other. But right now what I’m working on understanding is how John looked at people, and more so how Jesus looked at people. Are they too broken to invest my time in? Or just sick enough to need a doctor?


I love you, John.

Friday, August 17, 2012

One Year in the Making

Today yoga class almost made me cry.

True, my muscles were burning, tingling, and shaking, but that is not why tears came springing to my eyes during the last 5 minutes of class.

During yoga, there is a lot of time for the participants to concentrate solely on their bodies, their breath, A time where your mind is at peace and able to focus on the class alone. And then at the end, everything slows down and your body is relaxed and your mind has room to wander. Usually I let myself take those few moments and simply relax, enjoy the release of all the tension built during the hour-long yoga practice. But today was different. Even before we’d released and come into that time of quiet, rest, and relaxation, my mind started to wander. I thought about when I first started coming to this class, only a few weeks earlier. I thought about a conversation I’d had with one of the instructors about my past, why I am where I am, and how losing John had been the beginning of an extremely challenging year where God has pulled me in closer to himself. And then I thought about how that year is about to draw to a close, and while there will be no fanfare, no stopping of time to signify what has passed, and virtually no one outside of John’s immediate family will even understand the transition that is taking place, it will mean a change in my life.

And suddenly I began to panic.

After August 28th, my identity will be changing. You see, all the grief counselors and all the books by the most knowledgeable people in the world agree that the grieving process takes about one year. I wouldn’t say I’ve experienced grief by their standards or traveled all the “steps” involved.  And despite the way I still feel closely drawn in to that pain, the awareness of what I’ve lost, the way I deeply and completely miss my husband, I’ll be expected to no longer be “that woman who lost her husband.” This isn’t me railing against the expectations of society, because I don’t blame them for me feeling that pressure. I feel like time itself is putting pressure on me. My own understanding of the passage of time and the changes it brings puts pressure on me. My desire to be healed and whole again puts pressure on me. And nobody wants to be defined as a widow, right?

So why is this so hard? Why do I panic at the thought of no longer being the widow? Of just being a girl? Mom to Airalynn and Elenie. Girlfriend of Jeremy.

I miss John.

I miss being his wife, I miss seeing him every day, hearing his voice, holding his hand. I don’t want to move any further away from the day I lost him, because that was the last time I saw him. That was the last time I kissed him goodbye. That was the last time my family felt whole, perfect. That was the last time I saw my first love. And the more days pass between now and then, the more real it has to become that I’ll never see him again on this earth. That my old life that I loved so much will never be mine again.

I have to let go. I don’t want to let go.

The things that have characterized the last year of my life have been strength, passion, love, joy, maturity…I’ve spent this time pushing my own limits and letting people into my life when I wasn’t emotionally ready to handle so many people wanting my love and attention. Maybe it was rebellion in me against the expectations some have for a widow. Maybe it was God strengthening me and surrounding me with people who love me and want to help me by asking me to look beyond myself for a while. All I know is that now that year is over. The patience I received from people around me will diminish, not because they are insensitive, but because we all have internal clocks that urge us to act a certain way for a certain time, and at the end of that time, we are no longer required to act in that way. We expect other people to pick themselves up and become fully functioning members of society again.

What if I’m not fully functioning yet?

What if my head works perfectly, but my heart still hiccups and stutters? How do I ask Jeremy, my parents, John’s parents to be understanding? What do I say when suddenly I change my mind because fear and longing for the past replace my excitement for the future? How do I explain these mood swings that even I can’t anticipate?

Some people won’t expect me to. Some people will keep their distance out of caution because they can see that I am still not back to “normal”. Some people may try to pry my emotions out of me in an attempt to “help” me move on. The problem is that no one, not even me, knows what to expect, day in and day out. I feel so confused, dizzy from the way my heart swings back and forth. And the year mark that is creeping closer and closer and threatening to strangle me feels like the dip you anticipate after climbing for several minutes on a tall roller coaster.

So do I throw my hands up and wait for my stomach to flip?

Or do I scream “I want to get off!” and claw my way out of my restraints? Do I even get a choice?

Monday, May 14, 2012

8 months later

I remember the memorial.  I remember smiling.  I remember laughing, talking, telling stories.  I remember hugging people...comforting those who cried because they felt the loss in some small way, or because it shocked them into realizing it could happen to anybody at any time.  I remember standing as the receiving line made its way through my little grieving room.  I remember avoiding answering the door each day as a different person brought me something I couldn't eat. I remember being grateful.  I remember the days and weeks before.  The soccer game the day before, the burn on his head and shoulders from standing in the sun watching me play, watching our kids. The rollerblading in the parking lot of our apartment, John washing his motorcycles. The buffet the night before at the swimming pool where his company party was held. Watching him swim in the deep end, something he loved. Socializing with other wives, commenting on our children at play. Airalynn in a floating raft, chasing her daddy through the pool. Elenie still so small, she slept in her carrier.  I remember feeling fit and happy, having spent a week doing a soccer camp and loving the athleticism and opportunity.  I remember being happy.  I remember the night he came into the bedroom with his phone and sat it on the pillow as it played his recorded song. The song he had just written. The way he wanted to hear what I thought. How much that meant to me.  I remember that day...the day I lost him. I remember his khaki shorts and white shirt. I remember the ipad - this thing I'm typing on - in his hands, moving back and forth with the game he was playing.  I remember our apartment. Leather furniture we arranged, his idea, like a coffee shop - chairs facing each other by a side table.  I remember watching movies and tv series', one episode after another, together, in those chairs. On that couch.  I remember making never turned out quite right, but he drank it anyway. I remember the chocolate syrup, the french vanilla creamer. I remember trying different kinds, a sort of adventure, but always coming back to french vanilla.  I remember the monster drinks. The pepsi max. The venti hazelnut frappucinos. I remember the rented army furniture. I remember marking it with sticky notes the day before I left. I remember Mom and Selina helping me focus and get things done.  I remember watching Soul Surfer on my birthday, and crying in Mom's arms.  I remember the numbness.  I remember March 15, coming "home" finally to our apartment for the first time and seeing what he'd done for us. The bed he put together for Airalynn with a brand new fuzzy spongebob blanket. The way it kept deflating at night and she'd wake up half on the floor in hilarious positions. I remember the kitchen floor mat with a coffee cup on it, the tan colored towels, the bath mats.  I remember meeting Kim the moment I stepped out of the car as she stood on her balcony on the second floor. I was so tired.  I remember wishing I had the energy to appreciate his effort more.  I remember him falling asleep in the chair once we settled into the apartment, completely decked out in his uniform.  I remember cutting his hair every few weeks...I remember loving that he let me, that he wanted me to do that for him.  I remember going to the gym on post for classes 3-5 days a week, free classes where I could take my children.  I remember driving by his office, wishing I could just go in and watch him work. I remember calling his phone just to hear him say "3rd MI ALSE shop, Buffett speaking." Then I would giggle and tell him his voice sounded funny.  I remember the day he graduated flight school and how he had his sister hold onto the necklace he bought for me until the spouses stood for recognition. I remember him putting it on my neck and how I thought it was one of the sweetest things he'd ever done for me.  I remember the surprise party for my 22nd birthday. In Alabama. With our wonderful friends. He planned it and managed to keep it under my radar.  I remember him calling me "bum on bum".  I miss him. 

Friday, March 9, 2012


Today as I ran out the door to head to Mom's house, I picked up one of my cd cases so I'd have more music to choose from in the car. I sat in the car, looked through the binder, and chose a CD. But even as I removed it from the plastic guard, I suddenly decided I wanted to listen to John's music. The girls and I hadn't listened to it in several weeks. So I ran back in the house and located it. I pushed it gently into the cd player of my car and waited for the stereo to register the CD and start the music. Several seconds later his voice flooded my car and my heart. For the first song on the disc, he gives the chord progression before starting to play. So instead of just hearing his singing voice, I heard his talking voice, the sweet sound of his playful, innocent, beautiful personality coming through my speakers. 
He was real. His presence on this earth wasn't a dream or a figment of my imagination. The 6 years I spent in his presence happened just like I remember, and the sound of his voice is still as familiar as my own, as familiar as the strumming of his guitar that I heard almost every day in our home. I remember hearing someone play in the church sanctuary many times and being able to spot my husband's music within a moment's time because I just knew his playing so well. 
But despite all this, in the last few months I have struggled with believing that all of this actually happened to me. That I spent so much time with someone and then suddenly they were gone. What was my time, my investment worth? What difference did it make? I built a life with someone, started a relationship on footing that we hoped would help it to last until we were old and gray. But I never got a chance. Why?? I got a glimpse of a beauty beyond compare, beyond my wildest dreams. The beauty of loving fully and being fully loved - there's nothing in the world like it. And I refuse to think that the reason I was blessed enough to experience that was just for *my* benefit. That my future relationships would be built on the rock and experience would guide me. No, John wasn't the warm up for the rest of my life. 
So what was he? What am I supposed to do now in the wake of sudden loss?
Ironically, I think that lesson is one I could only have learned through living with him. What am I supposed to do now? I guess I'm supposed to do the same thing I was doing before - live! Make each moment count, pursue my passions, love my family and friends, praise God at every opportunity, pray unceasingly, take risks, and live like Jesus. My husband's favorite life verse was 1 John 2:6 - :Anyone who claims to live in him must walk as Jesus walked." If I claim to have known John better than anyone else, to have loved him completely, and to have admired him and his life choices, then I have no other option than to follow his example. Will it be hard? Yes. Claiming joy and being thankful can be a real struggle when it's so easy to focus on me, me, me. But that's what I'm going to do, especially when it's hard! I'm grateful for the precious time I got to spend with someone who inspired me so much. But now it's my turn. 
Father God, please lift my spirits when I'm down. Allow me to love, to mourn, but to laugh and dance, too. Give me wisdom, maturity, joy, passion, patience, and build my character through these struggles. Please don't let me ignore the lessons I have opportunity to learn through my circumstances. I want to come out of this claiming the perseverance, character, and hope you promise through suffering in Romans 5. I love you!

Friday, February 17, 2012


I was instructed to make a list of losses by my Christian counselor a few weeks ago. I did it, grudgingly. Today I've had so many things go through my head that I think it might burst. Actually, make that this week. Tonight as I was laying in bed trying to sleep, my mind kept turning over the struggles and worries I have in this life. I wrote some, and then I went back to that list of losses and read a few of them. One of them put a label on something I have been turning over in my head lately. This is what I listed:
I lost someone who pushed me to adapt and change when necessary.
Adapting. Is that what I'm trying to do here? Or am I biding my time?
When John and I got married, we were in college. That age when your whole life is opened up in front of you and you have the potential to do a million things, go anywhere, you have no idea what the rest of your life will really look like. And after we married, he took me around the world. We lived in 2 states and 3 countries. The army gave us a continued sense of "What's next? Where will we go from here? How many changes will we see this year, or next year?" 
But now...what do I do? Do I try to get used to the idea that I may be here permanently, because I'm not going to take the girls and move away from all their family by myself. If I married again into the military, I would gladly go with my husband wherever it took us. But I'm not married. I'm not military. This is my home. This is where all our family are centrally located and where I am establishing deep friendships, a volunteer position with my youth group that I'm investing greatly in, a life and a routine built here. I bought a house, I don't have plans to leave. 
I could build myself a nice life here surrounded by people who love me and the girls and be happy, right? I was born here. I thought as a teenager that I might want to move to Springfield, but if I didn't it wouldn't be tragic because I love my family and I love my hometown. Once I left it, though, I can say with certainty that we did not plan on coming back to live here. I decided that I was good not coming back to the old town, the old me, the old routine. I loved living in new and different places. I had accepted the fact that I might never live even within a few hours of my family. I had my husband and my kids and they were my family. 
I'm not writing this for sympathy so I'll not dwell on this next part. My whole concept of reality, of the future, shifted in a moment. Suddenly I was flying home to West Plains, MO where it seemed I'd be staying indefinitely. And for a while, I was upset about that. I was mad and I did NOT want to be here. Not long term anyway. God softened my heart quickly on that matter and told me He wanted me here, there were people to love here. But does that mean He wants me to stay here for-e-ver? (I always picture Sand Lot when I say that). Is this the house I'm going to spend a few dozen years in? 
Should I start working on shifting my perspective to a future here?
Or, should I wait and still feel like this is all temporary until I see if I get married again? And what if I don't get married for years? What if I do - what if this time next year I'm in a serious relationship with someone? That sounds really really really really strange to me, too. I'm not suggesting that I do or don't want that, I'm just speaking hypothetically. So what if I marry someone who wants to stay here for the rest of his life, content to live in this town or any other small Missouri town forever? Is that okay with me? Or should it matter? On the other hand, what if he doesn't? What if he takes a job that moves us away? How hard will it be to leave what I've established? 
I just want to be single for a while. I don't want to have to think about any of this for a good long time. But that doesn't change the fact that I do. I think about this stuff all the time. Because it matters to me that I don't set myself up for failure, or judge someone based on whether or not they could offer me a life as adventurous as the one before. I found myself considering a friend of mine and whether or not I could eventually see him as a potential mate. And a part of me said "Heck, no. He wants to stay here forever." And now the rest of me is asking that part of me if it's serious. Does it really mean it? Is that on the list of requirements in a future spouse? And what do I really want to do? Would I be okay staying here? If not, where and why? 
And please, no one leave me a comment saying "You don't know what the future holds, so just live for today and leave the future to God." I don't think I have ever been more aware of that than I am now. I know that tomorrow may not come for me or for any of us. I know that all my planning is for naught if God doesn't want what I want. I also know that it will all work out in God's timing. I just have a few questions on my mind tonight, and I thought writing them down might help me work through it and get some much needed sleep tonight. So I'm off to try and sleep again. Good night!