Last summer while he was deployed I cleaned out "under the stairs" at my mom's house, and got rid of some old cards, letters, toys from my childhood. But some had to stay.
This week I have been trying to do the same with the more recent memories. More pieces of paper from college, cards sent congratulating us on being pregnant (with Canaan) all the letters from Basic, Tech school, Korea and all three deployments.
Andy insists that boys don't care about things like that, and there is absolutely no reason to save the cards they got for their first halloween... but it sure it hard to just throw them away. I had to save the entire first year. Just because.
But I guess they don't need the cards for their second and third birthdays?
Anyway, he can't lie and say that males don't care about words. He has saved every letter I ever sent him while he has been gone. He put them in ziplock bags and brought them home again. Much of the time in which I have been supposed to be getting rid of things, I have instead been reading my old letters to him.
There have been pages and pages of trite filler - at first telling him about my class, and then about Canaan, and later Zion. There are also pages and pages of gushing about how much I love and miss him. But mixed in with the daily details and mush, I find moments recorded when God spoke to me. And I am so very grateful to have those written down on paper and saved for me. the memory of those moments is almost as strong as when they happened in the first place.
The first time Andy deployed he went to an "undisclosed location" in the middle east. It was only for a little over three months, so I really couldn't complain. Our first child was 8 months old, and I was blessed to be able to leave our earthly belongings in our base housing in CA, and stay with my family in GA.
Here is an small part of a letter I had written Andy from about halfway through the deployment:
"Tonight on the way home from your parent's it just felt wrong. I was going to the wrong place, and the wrong people were going to be there. As much as I love my family and this beautiful little room they have fixed for me, it just felt wrong. I guess I had reached the end of my rope. I was beginning to feel that I couldn't do it anymore.... Tonight, I just wanted to hold you. And if the story ended there, I would be crying right now. But God is gracious. Part of my Bible reading for tonight was Psalm 34 - 'I will bless the Lord at ALL TIMES:His praise shall continually be in my mouth.' I am reminded to give praise in all things, even when I have reached the end of my own strength. That is the only thing that keeps me going- His strength. So I guess this is a letter to remind you to trust in His strength and to praise Him in all things. Vs 4 says 'He delivered me from all my fears.' So, once again I hand Him all my fears. I take them back almost daily, but He always accept them when I turn them over again."
That was over six year ago now, and he has gone away, again and again since that time. And yes, it has gotten easier. Partly because I have gotten use to it, but also because I have those reminders over and over that "I will bless the Lord at ALL TIMES".
That is why I cannot get rid of old letters. I just can't. You never know when you might NEED to read them again.
As a side note, I have an entire gallon sized bag full of letters I have written him for each deployment. I think Andy has about 30 total, for the entire 8 years of AF time. He was such a great writer until I married him.... Why is that once you get a ring on your finger, they quit trying quite so hard? But, at least I have last year's poetry! I told you, words are important!