"Only We Four"    [ 15 ]   
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Aug 2016
 Hobbit Heroes

With my children all scattered to the wind this summer, we made good use of SKYPE ~ sometimes meeting as a group online, and sometimes just 1-to-1 for more intimate conversations. Perhaps her pregnancy caused her to think more profoundly about Family in general, but I found Danielle often lamenting how this summer marked the very last time all three of my daughters will ever likely live together under the same roof again, as their paths overlapped for a few weeks at her home this past June. Jessica and her new husband are likely bound overseas soon. For the time being, Danielle and her growing family continue to reside Alabama, but that may be changing very soon as well. And of course Ann will finish her last two years of high school with me before launching off to who-knows-where in the summer of 2018 —

Danielle described how she feels that, counting me, the four of us are THE ONLY ONES who share the unique bond that we do, having endured the turbulent decade following 2004. "We're like Frodo and Sam and Merry and Pippin at the end of 'The Lord of the Rings'," she told me, "all sitting together in a pub in the Shire... We're the only ones who really know what it was like, who remember everything and what really happened during all those years. We can just be together in silence and don't have to say a word about anything - we just know it together. I picture us lifting our mugs together just like them, toasting our achievements and, well, survival while the world just goes on around us completely oblivious to the terrors we faced, everything that we all went through, and how we helped each other every step along the way... But just like them, we made it!" This possibly explains why, years ago, Danielle instituted a Christmastime tradition in our home: watching through the entire LOTR saga in one day all together. Friends are most welcome ~ much Middle Earth pizza is had by all.  :-)

And you know, the more I gave it some thought, I have come to agree with her analogy. We did, in a very real sense, defend against our own assault of undead Nazgûl and even some self-appointed orcs from opposing forces who lied and stole and broke everything they could manage to touch in our family. Only we four know what it was all really like to endure it, brace against it, fight such evil, and what it was like to be guided through all those dangers, protected, and watched over by a far Greater Authority than those assaulting us. Only we four survived it all together ... Ecclesiastes 4:12 illustrates how a strand of three cords is not quickly broken. At its core, our family is interwoven with four strands, doubling over all the more now as additional members join us and strengthen our grand Family bonds. It is rather a fantastic thing to experience all of this now, especially after everything we endured to get here...

As my daughters grow up and get married and start their own wonderful little families, I find that our 'Fellowship of the Free' is by necessity disbanding for exciting new horizons beckoning each of us separately. After championing the lives of my children and our home for well over a decade, it feels somewhat strange now wandering into vast fields of bold new opportunities that mark the end of our needful solidarity. Our unifying bonds will never be compromised; in fact, they only seem to grow stronger as new maps unfurl between us!  :-D  It truly is 'All Good' because we made it through the darkest years of our lives together with love and laughter and vigor, running successes all around our table! Our family's story is nothing short of a testimony to God's favor lavishly poured out over a band who, even in our imperfections, always endeavored to abide together in Him. ~ Our victories have been convened by the gracious movements of His hands to form and guide our fortunes!

So. I have recently returned from another amazing trip to Hawaii —( Kauai! )— where I met unexpected opportunity-reflecting bookends starting and ending my visit in the forms of Mallory Roe the photographer, and Danny Cruces & Diane Rubio of 'Falling Down Romance' (Facebook and their primary site). Meeting such fantastic people living their dreams just so BIG and BOLD stirred my own heart to consider where my life is taking me now, and how, and why — and more importantly, if — I could or should change any aspects of it to pursue a long-neglected sense of Calling. ~ Returning to Phoenix after a life-affirming trip back Home (HI) is always a downer. For one thing, I feel like Rango under the searing desert sun. He just dries up and 'crisps' as the sun beats down on him. Then it happens again just to make sure he is bereft of all moisture! ~ Man, can I relate! ~ For two glorious weeks in Hawaii, my skin and general health improved so much I felt like I'd been given an entirely new body to inhabit! I actually * lost * 20 pounds while feasting on fruit and local cuisine during this last trip, running around on trails and knocking about in the surf. (And trust me - I ate plenty) Ah, but here in Phoenix, the hostile climate demands liberal application of lotions and medicines just to make it through the day . . .

 Rango
 
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 allergy

I met a lot of wonderful people on this trip to Kauai, most of them Real Artists who are deeply satisfied with their lives, profoundly friendly, and living with obvious vitality in Hawaii. What's more, many of these would go into great detail just out-of-the-blue to tell me about how and why they came to live in Hawaii. I did not ask for or invite them to do this. It's as if they were secretly prompted by some hidden script instructing them to tell me all about their choices and transitions to Paradise upon our first chance encounter. And it just kept happening! "It's an easy landing," said one local in Wailua. Another deeply fulfilled soul in Hanalei described how he came to Hawaii in `75 and "never looked back" speaking with exuberance about this decision he made over 40 years ago (the same year when I left Oahu as a kid). Now I just roll around in the scalding Phoenix sands of Mordor all day, a slave to the gritty and blistering concrete / asphalt byways of this desert city whenever I venture out, Rango-like, from my work qube... What a difference Their Reality presents!

Okay.

I have complained enough about living in Phoenix all these years.

It's time to do something about it.

There are places in this world where the Trade Winds blow and one's skin is made supple and healthy, where just Living Life feels Proper and Right rather than something of a chore just for the heat... That is where I am off to next, to find my own particular Shire, my own village of Hobbiton nestled upon whatever coast wherever I may find it. This could certainly lead back to Hawaii . . or Seattle, or Bora Bora, or who-knows? Maybe in some crazy opposite direction even, like off to Scotland or Ireland — I dunno! But I * DO * know that my time in this friggin' Phoenix oven is coming to an end! I will not go into the myriad fitful reasons that brought us [back] here in 2002, but I believe the time has come to get our house in order and ready for the market, downsize through garage sales, and start casting about for a broader, brighter means to make my way anew in this vast electrifying world. Unlike Frodo at the end of "The Return of the King", I am nowhere near ready to set sail for the Undying Lands!  That is at least another three or four decades away if I have anything to say about it! So in the meantime, I will spread out that world map, weigh down the corners with compass and pen sets, and finally give full reign to the POSSIBILITIES glowing just past our circumferential horizons..!

 Compass
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