Photos courtesy of Ryan Prouty

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Gloom, despair, and agony on me

Okay, you can admit it too. You watched Hee Haw when you were a kid too! Okay, really, I would love to know by a show, comments how many of you watched it actually. I remember some of it so vividly...why??? I have no idea. Maybe because we watched so little TV anyway that I was so excited to watch even that show! If I remember right, it came on right after the Lawrence Whelk show! Now that one you couldn't get me to watch...I did have some standards after all!

Anyway, that song that was sung was so appropriate for my week. For those of you too young to be blessed with the gift of Hee Haw, I'll expound on the lyrics of this song for you here:
"Gloom, despair, and agony on me. WHOA! (my favorite part!)
Deep dark depression, excessive misery. WHOA!
If it weren't for bad luck, I'd have no luck at all. WHOA!
Gloom, despair, and agony on me."

Then, one of them would commence with telling the problem in their lives making them so miserable. I thought this was so appropriate for us in light of our entire summer, but especially for this week. We have shared a little with you all about Paul's job and how hard that has been. Others at Agape have also left, including Harvey Johnson (the maintenance director for the airplane) whose wife Felicia quickly became a close friend when I first met her last Thanksgiving. They ended up moving in down the street from our first place, then we moved away, but we spent the better part of the summer together, letting the kids hang out together and doing fun things like Busch Gardens, the beach, and communal dinners. We helped them move (a little) and they helped us move and get unpacked. GOOD friends. When the hard times came at Agape, we were all in the fire together and our friendships were cemented by the tears and common hurt we shared. Paul left shortly after Harvey did and we always had in the back of our minds that they may have to move to find work for him. But they really didn't want to move again, so we thought we were safe.

But, on Tuesday last week, Harvey received a job offer in Birmingham, Alabama and I got a frantic phone call for moving boxes. They were packing immediately and leaving by Friday. I hung up the phone and just cried. My kids LOVE these people...even their dog is beloved by us all. Somehow, we worked through the rest of the week. On Wednesday, the Agape staff were supposed to be getting together for a goodbye for Paul, Harvey and Lindsey at Sharky's (a local restaurant on the beach), but instead, everyone decided to make it a packing party at the Johnson's. After work, everyone piled into their home and got about 75% of the packing done. All that was left was the garage, laundry room, and their clothing and bathroom items. It was amazing. Also, since they already had the moving truck, it was all loaded that night as well. Thursday was the day for the heavy furniture, and then we hosted dinner at our house for them. Aaron and Gabe taught us how to play Mafia (a card game), and we had a great evening. Friday was the last of the packing and the cleaning. They hit the road by 1:30, but not before many tears were shed. My children cried, Abigail (the dog) cried, JoDee cried, Felicia cried. We were a mess.

I reflected back to leaving Iowa and the excitement that kept the tears at bay (at least until we got to Florida and realized what we had left behind), and was surprised by the strength of the sadness that gripped me, that in fact, still grips me. I guess its easier to be the one who leaves than the one who stays behind...although I am not sure they would agree with that after unloading the moving truck all day today.

I guess I have missed my blogging therapy. I am sorry, but I have been through so much this summer that I couldn't share--didn't dare share because I didn't have anything nice to say, didn't want to be Christ-like about, and just really didn't know how to deal with. I hope this will help start the healing process for me and for Paul as well. I hope more than 3 people are still reading my blog. I don't blame you though if you are not! I am renewing my commitment to this blogging thing because I miss it desperately and miss the opportunity to reach out to you who read this and be transparent to both of you! So, I want you to know that we are here. We are struggling mightily with what God has planned for us. We want to know what that is and be perfectly in His will. We want you to be a part of it with us and we will do better at keeping this blog up to date! Of course by we, I mean me (Travis), since most of the posting is by me and I receive most of the benefit of pouring out my feelings in writing. I also wanted the Johnsons to know what an impact they have had on our family and that their unconditional love for us is appreciated and reciprocated!!
We had just met the Johnsons when we went to Myakka State Park for a Christmas party. Here, Jo, Mom, Alayna and Felicia pose as we walk the trail to the canopy walk.
Helping us pack. We were done in record time with all of their help.
And who could forget the trip to the mall in our homemade cow costumes for free food???
Well worth the humiliation for Chick-Fil-A!
A very common site this summer: in their living room playing soccer on the XBOX

Harvey was always joking around!

We are learning a lot through our ordeals this summer. We have had lots of goodbyes up to this point and probably more to come. We are striving to keep our eyes on the One who can sustain us and who gives us hope. He is our provider.

We put our hope in the Lord.
He is our help and our shield.
In him our hearts rejoice,
for we trust in his holy name.
Let your unfailing love surround us, Lord,
for our hope is in you alone.

Psalm 33:20-22


sara said...

I know, right when it seems your heart can't handle another change, right? I mourn with you in the "aftermath" of your dear friends leaving. It is so hard to lose the friendship of someone close to you (YES, this counts when they MOVE!) It feels like a hole in your heart.

Praying that God will bring you (& them!) some good friends to fill that void, to challenge you, to walk with you, to EAT with you.

Sending you a big HUG,

Deborah said...

I'm still reading your blog, Travis even though when I do I feel like I am peaking at your life through a crack in a door. Summer is supposed to be a time of carefree fun and happy memories. I am sorry this summer has not been that way for you. We are about to start our Mops year and Sunday is my day to pray specifically for our group, so from now on I am adding you to my prayer list in hopes that God will lighten your heart. Deb Wagner

Rikki said...

It's so good to hear from you on this blog!! I love your honesty and transparency. All I can do is pray and I am doing that. Love you!

2Corinth1:4mom said...

Your post (and the summer) kinda reminds me of the Brooke Frazier/Hillsong song "The Desert". Thanks for sharing!

JoD said...

I second the "it is easier being the one leaving than the one left behind" idea. While leaving has its own set of problems, the biggest hole is left in the one staying behind wondering when?? I too will miss the Johnsons more than they could possibly know. What a blessing to know them.

Kim said...

Hey there girl, I love you ... been praying all summer ... and I know EXACTLY how you feel losing the Johnson's ... your family last summer and Jo and Mom this summer ... God was faithful bringing the Johnson's, you just wait, there is another family right around the corner praying to meet your family. God is amazing! Tons of love and lots of hugs to all. Blessings on your week, k

Perceys said...

I am so sorry that your dear friends had to leave and also for the struggles you are going through. You and Paul are such a blessing to so many that I know the Lord has something amazing in store for your family! We are blessed to know you, Kim, Dave and the girls

Richard and Becky said...

thanks for the update and sharing your heart. We are praying for you as you wait on Gods perfect timing and his plan!

The Blackley Tribe said...

Travis, I appreciate your transparency and honesty. Change is hard, always. We are praying for you guys as you transition into what God has for you next.
p.s. the only memory I have of Hee Haw is from when I was probably 8 years old. I woke up and needed to go downstairs. I remember my parents and aunt and uncle were watching hee haw and eating chocolate chip cookies...I was so jealous! Of course they made me go back to bed!

Anonymous said...

Dear ones,

I know the pain and emptiness of saying "goodbye" to loved ones, and the void it leaves. You have all been in our prayers as always, and this summer, even more, with the many changes and heartaches. God is working in a mighty way to bring you into exactly his perfect plan. Life hurts, but God heals, and we can have confidence in that. I have missed your blogging but certainly understand why you've been unable to do so. God bless you all as you adjust to a new venture, once again.
We love you so much.
G. & G. P.