Thursday, September 24, 2009

Flying Solo for a Moment More

The time is here. The time I have waited for. Tomorrow I leave on the most exciting journey I have ever taken. I am headed to Italy to see the love of my life. He'll be waiting for me at baggage claim in the Fiumicino Airport. Rome bound. Love is right around the corner. Though it's been here all along.

God is so good. He knows me so well. I wanted a baby. Justin said if we weren't pregnant before he left for Iraq he would take me to Europe on his R&R. He made good on his promise. God did too. He has promised me the desires of my heart. But I feel so undeserving. To both of them.

Let me tell you about my husband. Let me tell you about his life. If you read my blog at all, then you know how it all started with us. But that's just the last seven years. Before that, he had already developed his character into will and determination, into loyalty and a kind heart. All things from which I would eventually learn. His example was noticeable from the very beginning. The silent leader. No one even knows it's him until all of a sudden everyone's following him. He doesn't shout from the rooftops that he's up front. He's just there. And you can't help but go with him.

He'll kill me for saying these things. He's too humble for this.

He didn't have to join the Army. As a matter of fact they tried to turn him away. Too old, too injured, too many traffic violations. But he kept up the fight. He knew from the moment he learned to walk that he had to learn to fly.

I didn't want him to go Active. I was never going to tell him that. I wanted to support him, but I had prayed and knew in my heart of hearts that the life wasn't meant for us. An opportunity came from above. No pun intended. And we took it. He would go on to serve in the Kentucky Army National Guard and become a Chief Warrant Officer. He started flight school the month we were married and I had a stand-in groom at our wedding rehearsal because he was learning to fly a blackhawk. We spent our first year of marriage at Fort Rucker and then moved to Lexington. Bought a house. Started new jobs. Chinook flight school. Fixed-wing flight school. On our five-year anniversary we will have spent three of them together. Our fifth anniversary will be our second together (the only other one was our first).

In October of last year he had been home about a month from his latest flight school, which had separated us for five months. He came home from work one day and said, "We need to talk." I remember where I was standing making dinner in our little kitchen (our kitchen is so small that there's really only one place to stand). I knew the moment he said it. I said, "You're deploying." I fought back tears as he told me the options. One unit would leave in April. One in August. One in November. I said, "I hope you go in April." He was floored. I don't think he was expecting that response. My reasoning? "Let's get this over with." And then we prayed. We prayed for days, for weeks, for a month. Until it was official.

Now here we are. No baby, no puppy (that was another bargaining chip he's since forgotten). I am two days away from seeing his handsome face, standing there in Rome, waiting for me at baggage claim. Praying he fulfilled my only request of handing a stranger his camera to capture the moment.

God is so good. Everybody thinks our time together will be good because we've been apart so long. Everybody thinks that's why our relationship is solid and grounded in one another's long distance love. But that's not it. It's good because it's right and real and honest. It's good because if a question is worth asking to the other, then it's worth saying yes to. It's good because God gave us this undying, fortunate, wholesome love. And for that I am grateful to Him and to him.

Thank you Justin for the man that you are. I'll see you Saturday. I'll be wearing a black knit dress and Ms. Samuels ivory bracelets (I feel prettiest when jewelry makes noise). And I expect to see you smiling, sans camera and with arms open wide.


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