It is Monday morning and I am still rumminating and marveling over the weekend.
It was fun, fascinating and tiring. A great experience that I think may be a touchstone for me.
We started the weekend by driving to Lebanon Ohio where we lived from 1989-91. Kacey and Marnie and I were in the van and met Audrey later in the evening at the motel. We went by the house we lived in and spoke to the people who reside there now. We were the first occupants of the home and the development was brand new. The girls had so many happy memories of living there. We also went by their school where Marnie and Kacey were in kindergarten through third grade. It was interesting to hear them talk about what they remembered. We also took lots of pictures.
We had dinner with Pattie where they reminisced about their dad's parents who were very important to them during these years. What I learned about this first stop was remembering a young family starting out. An ambitious dad and supportive mom who loved their kids.
At our next stop - in Columbus - the girls also had many wonderful membories as well. This is when I started to hear stories that were new to me. Some of them were from events I no longer remembered and other were stories of things the girls did that I did not know. A lot of fun riding bikes and a lot of freedom for them as we lived in Upper Arlinington. This is was the time that our marriage was starting to come apart. Chbris was getting ready to start a brand new business, and I had moved from just being support to going to work and then to seminary. We were definitely going in different directions but the girls were having fun and learning and growing. Going back to Tremont School and seeing the playground and the swimming pool triggered a lot of good memories for all of us.
The next stop was Zanesville and we drove past the old house and spent time in the mall. Again the girls had more freedom as they used to walk to the mall and enjoy the neighborhood behind the house. This was a time of a lot of turmoil in my life - divorce, first full time job in ministry, and a remarriage that was too fast and a mistake. At the same time for the girls, their dad was not around as he had been and he too had a remarriage that was a mistake. One of the great sources of stability for me and the girls was the church. We worshipped Sunday morning at First Christian Church in Zanesville and saw so many of the people who had been caring people to the girls during all of this. What surprised me was how good their memories were of those years and how important Zanesville itself was to them.
We moved away from there in 1990 when I went to become the pastor at First Christian Church in Bowling Green. It was a move at the wrong time for Kacey and Marnie - both in high school. It was a move to a more educated community and a better school. On the surface some wonderful blessings. But it was a mixed bag for them.
This trip brought up some painful memories of those years. And it was enlightening for me on so many levels.
We can't undo the past and so many things are unavoidable perhaps. When I grew up we moved several times during my childhood - most notably between my 11th and 12th grade years. I have always said that it was ultimately a blessing - helping me to identify with the outsider - because I certainly experienced that.
As much as the divorces and remarriages - I think the moves were most problemmatical for the girls. But as they continue to reflect I imagine they will see more in who they are now because of what they went through then.
This is an incredible journey - the zig zag journey of moving forward and trying to follow God's leading and the journey of looking backward and reflecting on the meaning and the lessons of it all.