If

Me and the man I love

I preached this wonderful story about wilderness four years ago and I’m still working on the same sermon from that many years ago. I preached on it again yesterday. And, lo and behold, it’s the same sermon. Almost. Because I still have something to say about this word: if. Maybe because I don’t have any answers more answers than I did then.  Maybe because there are still things that I’m trying to figure out after turning 33 (and will turn 35 at the end of this month). Maybe because this sermon really just isn’t finished. And maybe never will be. Or maybe because a whole new if has appeared and I’m even more confused than I was four years ago. That might not be an accurate statement. I’m confused about different things — but I’m not sure that the scale has completely tipped.

The examples I used in my sermon all sound negative — disease, job loss and mental illness. Oh! That’s not totally true. There’s one glimmer of hope in the hope of graduation. I’m not all doom and gloom in the quandaries I explore — but there’s one I don’t mention. I didn’t say it from the pulpit. Maybe because I didn’t want to edit anymore after it hit me. Ok. That’s definitely the reason. I was straight up lazy — but here I am still trying to figure out how the words I preached yesterday speak to my own life. Because that word — if — is weighing heavily on me right now. 
And that sounds bad. Just the way that I said that it sounds like a burden I’m carrying. But, it’s not. It’s not a burden. Because the truth is: I’m in love. There’s nothing depressing about that fact. I am in love with a wonderful man who just so happens to be in the army. We have had wonderful adventures in wine country and Hawaii and Seattle and even cuddled on the couch. He has become such a huge part of my life that it’s hard to imagine life without him — but I have to. In less than a month, he’ll deploy. He’ll go to make peace in Kuwait. (I’m told that Kuwait is really quite safe and I’m trying really hard to believe that. I am not really succeeding in this fact.) That’s where this annoying word — if — kicks in. Because there are so many things that are unknown. There are so many things that I want to know about the future and so many more things that I can’t know. So, this word bounces around in my head. If… If… If…
And I don’t really know how to talk about it. I don’t know how to express how this particular possibility    is pulling at all of my heart strings. But, I know it is. I see it in myself every time I’m with this man I love. Because I can’t help but touch him and hold him. I noticed the other night that I had wrapped my arms around him in such a way that it seemed I was determined not to let him go. But, he will go. He has to go. And I just don’t know what’s on the other side of that if. I can’t imagine how I will change or he will change. Or what will happen to the ways that our lives intersect. I have no idea what will be and that scares me. And that’s really all I can say. This scares me. Good job, tempter. Good job. But, I’m gonna really try not to let you win.
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