Well, our time in Fort Benning is dwindling down...we should be moving by the end of this week! So, apologies if you don't hear from us for awhile after this. The Army is moving us out to El Paso, which means they will come into my house and box it all up for me. Well, let's be honest...I have to have more control than that, so I've basically packed up the majority of our house. I think the movers are going to laugh at me (or be super grateful...) when they walk in! I just had to be sure all those important things were wrapped up well and coated with bubble wrap. Plus, it's helped me not go crazy. It is a bizarre feeling sitting in your house, furniture and belongings intact, and knowing that you're moving in less than a week...it feels like you should be doing something. You know, like packing. So I did. Sorry, movers. But I will gladly let you haul all the boxes and heavy furniture out to the truck. I'll provide the lemonade, snacks, and moral support!
Of course with moving comes lots of goodbyes. Yesterday was my last day at ESL, and it was so bittersweet. It was sad to leave my students behind, especially two of them--Maguey (Maggie) and Maritza (Ma-reet-za). They are from the Congo and El Salvador, respectively, and have been so much fun to have in class. We ended the semester with a Christmas party and we acted out the Christmas story, which was hilarious. One of the teachers also explained all of the Christmas traditions, such as stockings, Santa, presents, and more. While many other countries celebrate Christmas as well, it is a Christian holiday and not all of our students come from "Christian-rich" societies. In addition, they celebrate differently! It was fun to be able to share the Gospel as well as our traditions with them.
Today I went to my last Cardio Core. I don't think I've talked much about this, but it's a class I go to at the gym with Dana and Meghan and it has been kicking my butt since July! Our instructor is great--we love her! She's just the right balance of challenging/encouraging you. We've been using the TRX system lately and I LOVE it. We've done all of the exercises in that picture! It is so hard but you feel so good after you do it--good sense of accomplishment! And you can temper it to your ability level and make it easier/harder on yourself throughout the workout...I am going to miss this class! It has kept me in such good shape outside of running. Hopefully we'll find another class like it in El Paso.
Finally, we're having to say goodbye to all of our friends. You think 5 months really isn't that long, but we have really gotten to be great friends with about 7 other couples. We've had a ton of shared experiences and have had a hilarious time trying to figure out this Army life! The other wives and I have spent many days and nights playing games, eating, and talking while the guys were out training and have gotten so close! Thankfully I get to have two of them with me in El Paso, but it's going to be so hard to leave the others. We're hoping that when the guys have to come back to Benning in a few years for the Captain's Career Course that we'll all be here at the same time :)
When I left Starkville in June, I had no idea what I was getting myself into with this whole Army life. But so far, I have truly enjoyed it. I've learned a lot about myself, Brian, making friends, and a lot of acronyms and Army lingo! I think we've all gained some confidence too, which comes from experience. I was so nervous coming here and now I feel so at home. I'm hoping for the same kind of experience (or better!) out in El Paso.
When I left Starkville in June, I did what I always do when I leave that town for a long period of time; before I get on the road, I take my ritual drive through campus. I go slow and go through all the memories...football games, living in the dorms, going to Wesley, FPC, walking on campus, giving RoadRunner tours, eating outside at the Bakery, meals and fun at the Chi O house, running on South and North Farm, and so, so, so much more. This past summer as I was leaving out the main entrance I (of course) started to tear up, realizing that I really was about to begin a journey I knew nothing about. Up until that point, I had done the predictable and the comfortable: school! But this was new. I was listening to KLOVE, the contemporary Christian radio station, soaking in the warm summer sun, and this song came on...it's by Matt Maher, and it's called "Love will Hold Us Together". These verses hit me:
Love, will, hold us together
Make us a shelter
to weather the storm
And I’ll, be, my brothers keeper
So the whole world will know
That we’re not alone
This is the first, day of the rest of your life
This is the first, day of the rest of your life
‘Cause even in the dark you can still see the light
It’s gonna be alright, s’gonna be alright
During this verse, I started laughing! Pure, uncontrollable laughter! Well, laughter with tears rolling down my face! Because I felt like God was speaking directly to me and saying, "Rebecca, why are you so upset? It's gonna be alright!" And of course, it did feel like the first day of the rest of my life; I was leaving the world of school and truly felt like I was becoming an adult...It was one of those beautiful moments in life where even though you're sad, you're also inexplicably happy. I love the combination of laughter and tears--it's like your body just can't hold it all in so it has to find multiple ways to get everything out! I started and finished the drive with a light and joyful heart, knowing that God was on my side and that His love would forever be around and in me. Praise the Lord!
Plus, the song has a fun "sound" to it...sorry, I'm totally not musically-inclined, but it just sounds like something that we'd all be singing unabashedly and joyfully because of the promises in it! What joy there is in knowing that with Christ, we are never alone. And He is so good to bless us with people who uplift, encourage, support, and rebuke us in love as well as remind us of His love through their words, actions and life. Praise the Lord!
Blessings to you all! And Merry Christmas! Perhaps by the New Year we will be in Texas! Oh the adventures to come...