Care Packages & FaceTime

It hasn’t quite been two months since the man I love deployed. I marked the dates last night on my calendar because I couldn’t believe that it hadn’t yet been two months. Because it feels like an eternity.

After three beautiful pastoral visits yesterday, and a little mucking around in my garden, I put the finishing touches on a care package that will go in the mail today. There are things that he asks me to send — things that he misses or suddenly discovers he needs. Or sometimes things he just wants. (I have yet to answer his request for freshly baked cookies.) This is the second package I’m sending in these two months that he’s been gone. And in these two packages, I’ve noticed that  most of the items are some little way for me to tell him I love him. It’s a strange thing to do with an object. Or a series of objects. For how do you express all of your emotion in an inanimate thing? Can it tell the story of how you feel? Is that even possible?

But, then again, aren’t there stories in every object? I send a pack of gum in each package because he always asks for gum and I never have it. And so, he has made me carry gum in my purse just for him. Now, there is no gum in my purse but it goes in the mail to tell that story that the object — all by itself — might not be able to tell. Because, really, who is going to think about that story when they see a pack of gum? I sure as hell wouldn’t. And yet, it’s that story that causes me to carefully add some gum to each care package.

I get to see him almost once a day… usually. He appears on my phone through the magic of FaceTime (which for some reason works better than Skype). I tell him all about my day and he can’t tell me much. It’s classified, you know. But, I’m learning something about this. Because I always thought it was absurd when someone would relay every detail of their day. I always assumed that no one would want to know that many details. Or maybe this is just because I’m an introvert. But, this simple act of sharing bonds us. It cements a relationship. And it is so hard without it. You have to find other ways to make that connection.

This is hard for me. I’ll admit it. I really don’t like it. I remember walking with an engaged couple toward their wedding day. They had just read The Five Languages of Love and they just loved talking about it. He was one style. She was another. I honestly don’t remember which because the self help mumbo-jumbo irritated me. But, now, I kinda want to read the book. Maybe I’ll even succumb to reading the military version. (Ew.) Because I know now that my love language is #5. I need physical touch. And you know what I can’t have for nine months? Physical touch. So I’m dabbling in these other languages and feeling completely and totally confused.

I heard this wisdom preached yesterday. My conference minister delivered the good news of Pentecost by reminding us that when we are surprised and confused, that’s when God is really at work. That’s when God is really up to something. This I believe.

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