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Oh My Expanding Heart

Summer's almost gone ...

This man, he moves me, he challenges me, he is the other half of my heart.

Summer may be nearly over, but I am in Love. In Love with the seasons of life, the seasons of change. In Love with a man who silently pushes me to evolve, and grow. Sometimes he shows me, physically, and other times, he is just himself, calm - cool -collected. I see him, and he sees me. Maybe better than I see myself, but then again, that is what partners are for at times. Mirroring can be hard to look at, it can be down right scary - but so necessary.

This summer we stayed in town, a lot. And in doing so, we received more blessings than we could have ever imagined. We went through hardships, together. We hurt and cried (well I cried, and I allowed myself to be hurt), we walked hand in hand, under sunny skies, and drove each other bonkers when it was so hot that the pavement could melt your soles.

I ventured into the realm of storytelling. I shone a light on myself, for the benefit of others. I built my own website! I branched out and met new people. I wrote. I shared my writings. And even published my very first book. All amazing accomplishments, and I am so proud of myself. But I knew I could grow more, I just didn't really know where.

Then it hit me, once again, like a ton of feathers. My Love for this man grew and grew, and it happened so quickly, that I'm honestly glad to say that we have a video recording of it. Well not my actual growth, but what lead to it, and how it has transformed everything once more. Life does that, I mean, Love does that.

On this final weekend of summer, we took a road trip with our youngest daughter to Pigeon Forge, TN. First stop, the great Smoky Mountains! My heart went BOOM. I'm still trying to process the beauty of them, like an oil painting, but real. The depths of color, shades of greens, grays, blues ... oh my expanding heart!

And then, what's an end of summer without a fair, or at least a midway feeling. A couple of sweaty rounds of mini-golf, both Mark and Kate managed to get a hole-in-one. I was so proud! But that's not the best part. The final adventure of our adventure involved a wild ride. The sign clearly states, "no chickens allowed", so I took a back seat (not literally) and held the iPhone to record their experience.

It was cool to watch, well from what I could see of it. I was a good twenty feet away, on an elevated platform, a perfect vantage point. I couldn't hear any screams or laughs, as they swept by me at lightening speeds, backwards and forwards. I kept my hand steady so as to capture the best video possible, because ... memories. She's not getting any younger, I thought. She may never wish to hang out with us in this capacity again, afterall she's 12 already. And what dad is really ever ready to watch their little girl grow up? I needed to record every drop, and with commentary of course, that served as proof that I was there. LOL

After the ride ended, donning the very appropriate name of, "The Sky Scraper", which was nearly five minutes long, I headed over to give them hugs, (so glad they made it off alive!) And then a park employee asked if we wanted to watch the video. I was caught off guard, I thought I was the one providing all the footage needed for the vault. I actually missed out on getting lost in the ride that these two crazy thrill seekers were on, I was spending all of my seconds lining up the best angles. Ah, but it's for Love, and the Love of daddy and daughter, I could never overshadow this, it needed recording.

We gave the young woman the okay to rewind and press play, and then it happened. I witnessed something so beautiful that I kind of want to keep it all to myself, but I must share it here, so I don't forget it. Kate having the time of her life, bubbling over with joy! Smiling, tugging at her bangs as they washed into her eyes, looking up and around from great heights, and through fast speeds. She looked so complete, so absorbed in the experience, filled with bliss. My heart grew. And then, I focussed all of my attention on my husband, and his face. His eyes wide like a 12 year old in one moment, and then squeezed shut, feeling what I can only imagine as the rush of this ride pumping in his veins.

So normally this wouldn't be a big deal, most people have been on rides, most adults have looked like a kid in a candy store on a fast moving machine. Why am I making such a huge deal? Most people's husbands didn't serve in the U.S. Army, defending their country, living in the desert for a year in unconscionable conditions. Most people that do return from such circumstances, return with something inside of them that will never be the same. A deadness. A constant feeling of "fight or flight" surging through their souls. My husband is one of those men.

Mark has PTSD, that is unmistakable, and unfortunate, for a lack of better words. He is often seen going through the motions, or maybe just surviving. But this ride, this incredible ride, it delivered him back to Life! It washed over his face like the sun smacking you in yours, on a sunny summer day. I saw it. I have never, in all of the time I have known this man, this divine soul, my golden heart warrior king, I have never seen so much joy in his face. It brought me to tears, in the most delicious way. Right there, watching a silly ride, recorded on an ancient VHS tape, with our 12 year old by his side. Before the woman pressed play, Kate said that she didn't need a copy, we all agreed, we'd just watch it, and be happy with whatever I caught on the iPhone. But after viewing, after being hugged by both of my beloveds, Mark pulled out the credit card and that was that.

Sometimes we don't know why we end up where we are, sometimes we think an end of summer road trip is just an opportunity to fill up on junk food, have a couple of laughs, and catch a sunburn. But God knows why you are where you are, and what it is that you are meant to see. God knows why some rides only have two seats. God knows that if you are patient, if you are open, if you are Loving, if you really hold out - tested - shredded - built back up, and pushed on through, and are still standing, God will allow you to bear witness to the biggest miracles of them all. God is Love, see Love in every face. I saw that, and so much more. I bow my head in gratitude. I am in Love, and I am Love. Love is my currency.

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