I wonder how many times I have gone through this feeling of dread in the last two and half years. Has it only been that long? Two and a half years? As I count on my fingers, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November…. Yes, it’s actually been two years and eight months since I first saw Brookings SD. But who’s counting J
I’ve written before of my husband’s elation and my sorrow when he first was summoned to work for the people of South Dakota. I am often chastised because of my comments about the people of South Dakota. I suppose I view them through my own lens and since I do, I see them differently than someone who finds the Dakotas home. Some people feel the same way about my beloved Brooklyn.
Today I am heading north again. I wish this were the last time. I don’t know when the last time will be, it is just a reality of life now. I am reminded of the words of my professor, “It’s not for forever but it is for now.” It just is. It is how my life is lived at this present moment in time. I live like a yo-yo on a string being pulled here and there seemingly against my will.
Yet, it is my choice. I could stay in Tennessee. I’ve always had that choice to stay here. I have a home here. I have children here. And in retrospect, the correct decision would have been to stay here. It is my husband who is bound to the people of South Dakota, not me. Yet, I am bound to him in this love relationship of 32 years. Over and over, every time I get in that car to head north I am saying “I do…for better or worse.”
I want to stay here. I can’t describe to you how I feel when I come home. I am sure you know the feeling of coming home. But this is different. There is a lightness and a contentment that comes over me that is hard to describe. Today I have the opposite of that feeling. Today I feel the dread and angst of not just two days of being in a small car, but of returning to a place that is not home.
Like the marines, there are a few good people in South Dakota. I’ve met some of them. There is the professor at the seminary who I’ve only met briefly in person who still cheers me on and encourages me. What a gift! There are the beautiful friends I’ve made at Grandview Covenant Church. They are true gems. I have been so blessed to know them. I feel the same sadness of leaving that I feel now when I think of the day I will not see them. Then there is my un-coffee buddy. She’s help me cope in ways she can’t imagine. And my wise woman – the wise woman who has known my darkest secrets and my deepest pain and held my hand as I walked through a maze of despair.
In a couple of hours I’ll get in my tiny 2003 red Chevy Cavalier, what a story I could tell you about that car. Like me, she’s old but she has been so faithful. I’m being faithful today too. I am returning with my husband to South Dakota because it is the right thing to do. Sometimes I get tired of doing the right thing. Sometimes I wish I didn’t have this strong moral compass telling me to “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” or telling me to “love unconditionally.” But I do have this compass, and ultimately I am thankful for it. I think it is the compass that guided 32 years of marriage.
Today I’ll renew my vows again. I will forsake all others and keep myself to my husband. I will say “I do” not with the giddy joy of a bride, but with the wisdom of an old woman. A wisdom that tells me that faithfulness is more important than happiness.
Someday we will say good bye to South Dakota. Someday I will have one place to live again. Someday… but that day is not today.