I spent the weekend in Billings last week. It was a nice change to get away for a while, and definitely a blessing be able to see Caleb for the first time since February. See, he decided to learn some of life's lessons the hard way and has become a guest of the state of Montana as a result. And just like that, the last my three littles was gone.
It's been hard, jumping into the empty nest years so suddenly. I was expecting another year together before I had to worry about working through any of that. I mean, I've spent the last 18 years taking care of kids. It's kind of hard to break the habit cold turkey!
But I'm grateful for all the time we got to spend together in the last year----my intention was for it to be the lead-up for our great final year before Caleb turned 18, but that didn't exactly turn out the way I planned, now did it....
I didn't know that what I thought was the lead-up to the main event would turn out to BE the main event, because in all likelihood Caleb will already be 18 before he's an independent agent again. But God knew all about it, and He is good. He put it in my heart to make the most of our time together and we did. So I'm sorry for what we'll miss, but ever so thankful for all that we didn't.
And last week was the first time since he left that I've been able to make the seven-hour drive down to see him.
I drove down Friday and spent Friday and Saturday nights sleeping at the Adventist church there. They've recently built a new fellowship hall and did something I think is just the coolest thing with the old one.
The church built two bedrooms and a bathroom out into the room and made an apartment out of it. They call it a prophet's room, after the Old Testament story of the couple that built a special room onto their home so that any of God's people that passed by would have a place to stay.
Now this "prophet's room" is available to those who have need of it, free of charge.
It was such a welcoming space, and it was quite cool to be kicking back inside a church.
There was a door leading directly from the apartment into the hallway of the church. Friday evening all was still and quiet, but it was pretty trippy to step through the door right into an active church on Sabbath morning! Felt very rabbit hole-ish.
I sat with a great family at potluck---they were so warm and friendly. They even invited me to the college choir concert their kids were in that evening. I had nothing planned because my visit with Caleb was already going to be over by then, so I braved the one-way streets of the downtown area and attended.
The sun was just setting as I arrived and casting a beautiful glow on the brick buildings. I love architecture, and always get excited to have the chance to take some "city" pictures for a change.
Not that I'd give up my wide-open, empty prairie for the confines of a city, but it's nice to visit.
The concert took place in the St. Patrick's Catholic church and I do have to say, the acoustics were absolutely beautiful inside. I can't wait to hear what the heavenly choir sounds like if our earthly choirs can make such wonderful music.
It was a lovely, restful weekend, with one more fun treat in store on the way home. I took the ol' car for the first car wash of spring. By that, I mean water has not touched its virginal state since last fall.
I was pretty embarrassed to be driving it---city folk just don't understand how it is when you live on a gravel road.
I came back with a very grateful heart.
Grateful for God's blessings.
Grateful for His mercy.
Grateful for the time we've all been given to love each other.
And praying that I will never take that time for granted because, even on the best of days with no tragedies or unforeseen events, it goes by faster than we ever dream possible.