Jul 5 10:59pm – Parents and sister are back safe and sound in Colorado. Zak et al are packing and forwarding snail mail – their time in Portland draws shorter and shorter. Nick et al had his car looked at today and spent the day with Bean. Life goes on. And on. I prepare for a weekend of silence and meditation at the Holy Cross Abbey near Berryville. This will be my second visit there – I very much look forward to the weekend. Not yet sure exactly what I will be doing with my time but I am prepared to journal, pray, read several books, walk (if it isn’t too hot), and do a lot of thinking. I don’t foresee any big answers or amazing insights being found during the weekend – instead, I hope for a continuation of the peace and understanding that God has blessed me with over the last few months. It will just all be in silence. I am finding a pattern in some of my actions now. I suppose that someone who is smart would take these actions and analyze them and somehow determine whether I am dealing with the loss and grief well or not so well. I seem to be wanting to hold on to some of the things that remind me of Regina but in specially displayed ways. I now have her pictures prominently placed on my wall. I have a place for her cremains (once and if I ever get them!), I’m drying her flowers for later display, and I am very comfortable with leaving the bedroom just the way it was the night that she left. I like seeing her around the house right now – will it change in a few weeks or months? I don’t know. It does make it hard sometimes to see her around but I still want to see her and I want her around me, too. I will see how this goes for awhile. In the meantime, I am glad I have small items, pictures, and do-dads that remind me of the happy good special times. I also am finding that – at the oddest times – I shed a tear. I went to Staples today for some materials and had to pause for a few moments at the check-out line when the cashier asked for Regina’s ‘save-a-buck’ Staples teacher’s card. I also find it a bit hard to look out the window and see her green car. I used to always look out and see it when she was driving up the drive – I was glad she had made it home again for the day. Anyway, I’m not sad I have these moments. They are ok. But I wonder how long these brief episodes will last? Months? Years? I’m not anxious to be rid of them, for sure. It’s just that there is more to my day now than looking forward and ahead – I also find that I need to spend time reflecting and remembering during the day, too. It takes more energy. It wears me down some. I’m also getting used to the freedom. In a very technical sense, it is freedom that I have now – much more than I’ve had in decades. But it seems very hard-earned. Almost something that came at such an expensive cost that I don’t really want to use it. Experience it. It is a freedom that has come with a horrible and terrible price. But it is freedom nevertheless. And I am just not sure how I am going to adjust to it. I don’t really want this kind of freedom that has come without Regina. All the things that used to seem a bit challenging because it was a choice I would have to make between being for me or me being with Regina now seem lifeless. Almost meaningless. I am not yet happy with the freedom. I want to share or ask or make sure that it is ok with Regina – not just do it or not do it! Well, I suppose this will go on for weeks months years, too. It is a very odd sensation to me right now – this idea of having personal freedom around the house and in my personal life. Kathy offered this from Paul in Philippians 1:12-26 in behalf of Regina. I like it. ”Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear. It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. The latter do so out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and God’s provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance. I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, so that through my being with you again your boasting in Christ Jesus will abound on account of me.” I think Regina tussled and scuffled with the same conundrum – stay and take care of us or move on and be with Christ. I’m good with what has happened – let us now take care of each other, ok?