O.K. So I did. Anyway, I called my mother way back then and asked her if our plan to stay there was going to be too much of a burden for her. Of course when she said “yes” I took it to mean we could come.
When we had originally made the plans to go, my Mom didn't know she would be having major surgery, and that my Dad would also be terribly ill, have to fly to Billings in a Medivac helicopter, and try to die on us before we could get there. Now we would totally be a burden if we went. But then after my parents struggles, I really, really wanted to go. I just had to see them. I promised mom that she would not have to take care of us, but you know she always does anyway.
As it turns out, Ammon's girlfriend, Marnee, and my husband Jim, also came along, which we had not initially planned, Ammon and I. However, I had to practically kidnap Jim and force him into submission and drag him to the car to go. Ammon and I packed his suitcase, so he may not have been totally happy with his choices of clothing he had once we were there. (Jim was later very grateful we were so abusive and made him come).
Ammon can't seem to part with Marnee these days (or else I think he dreaded being in a car alone with his parents for 10 hours) so he coaxed her into coming too. I don't think he had work too hard at convincing her, however. Much easier than Jim. However, it was, after all, a real party in the car. Just ask Ammon if his mom and dad are not just loads of entertainment. Hmmmm, maybe don't ask him about how fun the ride up to Cowley was, just take my word for it. LOADS of fun!
He's a good boy. A very good boy!
We took some pictures on the way up when we stopped at Thermopolis. It was really beautiful there. (this photo just does not capture how pretty it really was). The kids took off with my camera and snapped some fun photos too . . .
Ammon and Marnee playing around in the mineral formations . . .
and with the dinosaur's nose?
Of Course the sign said not to touch the dinosaur . . . so I have to say Ammon's still a little bit disobedient.
After our party in the car, we did arrive in Cowley safe and sound. I greeted my mother with a giant hug - she just brings me such joy and peace. It was so good to hug my Mom. But my Dad was in bed already, and he looked so weak and frail. I have never seen him look like that. (Well, there was the time he was in the hospital with open heart surgery . . . but that was ages ago it seems). This time he had lost so much weight and his deep bass voice, which I love so much, was shaky - and it scared me. It scared me so much I had to hold back the tears and pretend I wasn't scared, but I was. I curled up next to him on the bed and just let him hug me tight. I was so happy for a moment in time. He said in that frail low voice, “this feels so good” and I agreed to the depths of my soul and thanked God that he was here for a little longer. I felt like a little girl again curled up next to him.
Moments like that remind me how there is nothing in this world more important than the love we have for each other and our family relationships. How eternally tied we are, and how much more that means than anything else in this world. It is in those moments that I feel the love of God around me; just a little bit of celestial glory in this often unholy world.
Dad began to rally a bit while we were there. My brothers all arrived too, for the big celebration we always called "Cowley's Day" though it is more appropriately called "Pioneer Day". Only my sister was missing on this trip. (I do get to see her now more than I ever have since she moved to Utah. I feel very fortunate in deed).
Now I told you I believe there is nothing more important than our eternal family ties. That does not mean every word you share with your siblings is all “Pollyanna” every day. It just means you love them in spite of differences. For example, my younger brothers got rather mad at me while I was there, I'm afraid. Our politics differ, but it was quite by accident that I brought "politics" up. You see, I made a pretend call to President Bush on my cell phone to entertain my darling little niece, Lucy.
I didn't really get the opportunity to express my political opinions, I just responded to my brother Ned's disgust by suggesting maybe President Bush wasn't THAT bad! (I just don't think in the long term, many years from now, President Bush will look that bad. Other war President's also had low ratings at the time of their wars too). But it still ended up with my youngest brother resorting to calling me a “neo-con” . . . Oh, I'm sure he meant it in the nicest possible way ;-) . . . Actually, I had to look up the moniker, as I had no idea what it meant. According to the web based dictionaries, it means “new conservative” or rather, a former liberal who has seen the light, I say. However, I was never a liberal. I am actually a very “Ye ole' - con. I suppose on the liberal blogs, the name is more unkind in nature, but I choose to believe Ned is just sensitive about that subject and took it out on me. (Next time I'll call pretend to call Cinderella)!
I am quite conservative in my thinking, no doubt about it, but we as humans have much more in common than politics. We are eternal families. I have no doubt Ned Loves me anyway. He just could not hold back his irritation, based on experiences he had in Iraq, I suppose. I know my brothers must have experienced the most awful of things as soldiers in the war. They think it is wrong to be there. I just know that sometimes we have to go to war to protect our families and our freedom, and sometimes the freedom of others. I won't pretend to know how bad it was over there for them. I just believe in looking at the eternal perspective.
They think the Iraq war is a war for oil. I suppose freedom from oppression would include allowing them to sell their oil to us, and help enrich them. That seems like not such a bad thing to me. I'm not going to pontificate on politics here. I just think, using the analogy of the whole problem as being like an elephant, my brothers may have been assigned to clean the elephant's waste. We do need people willing to do that.
I think my brothers' perspectives of what happened in Iraq is probably accurate, at least from their experience in the elephant dung pits. I won't question that, and I believe them. Their understanding of it is most certainly truthful. But I believe their vision might have limited their ability to see outside their terrible, but perhaps narrow experience, and not see the good in the service they did. I believe their service to our country is a good and noble thing and I am grateful for it. I hate it that so much of the media has made veterans of THIS war appear as not being worthy of heroism. It was somewhat like that in Viet Nam as I remember. So different than the unity of World War II, though I am no war expert. Perhaps it is the overall deteriorating morals in our society as a whole that is the problem. No politics there - just an expanding wickedness in our Nation; this occuring among every political side.
I have thought a lot about the “dung” they experienced. But I think, after all, that really is not the picture of the whole elephant. Greg told me that they had to shoot an elderly man just because he wouldn't stop at the entrance to a secured area (or something to that effect). Greg was quite angry and horrified at the inhumanity of men. I couldn't agree more. I can't imagine the things that war brings out. But we are always at war with Satan and He is so clever. For example, I have an acquaintance, the Chief of police in Lehi whose last name happens to be “Terry”. I sort of imagine we are probably related to any “Terry” in Utah based on my mom's genealogy. Anyway, he made a simple traffic stop. A youthful woman who appeared every bit harmless shot him in the head. It could have just as easily have been me during my law enforcement career.
My point is, we just don't know who the enemy is sometimes. Who knows if the man Greg referred to was an enemy. In my (former) line of work, you may not go home alive if you allow too much assumption. I don't mean to be trite. I ALWAYS erred on the side of believing in the good of people. I think the Lord had to watch over me because of that.
I do think though, that feeding the elephant, or clipping it's toe nails or better yet, riding atop the elephant, would be a totally different view than the limited view of cleaning up the back end. So, I suppose, if you described your perspective from another vantage point, you would also be correct - but still not see all.
But the Lord sees all, and He is the only one who does. I would rather put my trust in God because he does see all, and He knows all, and He is all. I know that and I love Him so very much. If we stay "in tune" with his will, we will see the bigger picture. I want to follow Him - Every day of my life. I want to listen, talk to, be hugged and be comforted by Him. I love my soldier brothers very, very much. I hope they will let God comfort them, and accept His hugs, because I know nothing else will ever really help their pain. That's my politics.
End of Cowley Trip - Part I (more to come).