Thursday, January 6, 2011

In the Air over Dallas...Home from Meme's Funeral

6:00 PM, January 4

I'm somewhere over Oklahoma right now, flying home from Meme's funeral. 

The first leg of my flight brought me from San Antonio to Dallas, and I deliberately chose a window seat on the left side of the plane so I could smash my nose against the glass and watch the sun set as we flew north. 

It's nearly dark now, and the lights below illuminate the arteries, veins, and capillaries of city streets and highways.  Trains and cars look like toys from up here.  I can see the orderly streets of a subdivision, each little home the same distance from its mailbox, from its neighbor.

The sunset is blood orange red streaked with hues of purple, powder blue, and gunmetal gray. 

A few hours ago, as we were leaving San Antonio's dense fog and persistent mist -- the kind that makes you have to aggravatingly fiddle with the windshield wiper setting -- I anticipated rising above the thickly quilted mass of clouds.  (Now there's a metaphor worth exploring.)  Patches of blue sky began to appear, and all at once, the plane was surrounded by clear skies, the gorgeous undulations of the clouds lay beneath us, covered in a uniform fish scale pattern with occasional peaks of condensation, stiff like a well-whipped meringue, rising and straining to see over their peers. 

And I wonder, if I were to skydive through the billowy puffs, would bits of cloud become trapped in my parachute?

Now the sunset is a rouge swept gracefully on the cheeks of the horizon. 

My seatmate is an adorable eight-year old named Daniel.  We are having deep discussions about the pros and cons of swimming in Lake Michigan (he's from Chicago), and he just reached into his bag and brought out two Toy Story "fruit snacks" for us to share.  I think he's a bit perplexed when there's a pause in our conversation and I go back to scribbling feverishly in my journal. 

My camera is packed away in my carry-on which is in the overhead bin. I want to get it so badly to take a picture of the sunset from up here. If I didn't have to step over Daniel and the man seated next to him to get to the aisle, and then raise my arms over my head to retrieve my heavy bag while my shirt would undoubtedly lift up to reveal my belly while 227 people are staring at me while I try not to crush any one's cranium with my suitcase, I just may have gotten it.

So, please use your imagination to visualize a gorgeous sunset from 30,000 feet.

Meme was 90 years old when she flew for the first time.  Childish wonder from the experience made her glow.  No matter how many times I take to the friendly skies, I hope I never lose the amazement that I am soaring through the air, encroaching on the landscape which, before the Wright brothers, only angels inhabited.

It helps me settle a little deeper into my mental nest of trying to understand, fathom, and comprehend and the enormity of God.

And yet I know He is unfathomably huge, something my finite brain will never wrap it's arms around. 

Meme's funeral was yesterday, and we (my family and I) were blessed at how many people came out to pay tribute to her life with their presence. 

A collection of photos of Meme that were at the funeral.

 The flowers were absolutely amazing:  peonies, heather, snapdragons, purple irises, roses, and ferns. 

My Meme was a character. 

Here's a picture of her standing by the real "Dukes of Hazzard" car.

I love this one.  I have no idea what she's doing here, but this sums up her wild, feisty personality.

The "marching on" of life is so interesting. 

Through the death of my grandmother, and the congregation of my family,
I got to meet my niece, Charlotte.

Look at that gorgeous face.
Those rosebud lips!
Those eyes!

(That's my dear Aunt Jeanie holding her.)

Here's my brother, Travis, my sister-in-law, Laura, and Charlotte.
Travis' job is in Saudi Arabia.
I don't get to see them much.

(Since we were just in Texas for Christmas,
I made a quick 24-hour trip back home for the funeral, alone.
But I wish Chris and the boys were in this photo with me.)

My sister, Maggie, me, Mom, Travis, Laura, and Charlotte.

My cousin, Nathan, and his wife Erin.

My Aunt Theresa, her husband, Bill, and Nathan and Erin.

Aunt Ginny in action! 

Meme lived a long, healthy life.  We shared great memories of her and had our hearts filled with "Meme-isms."  I floated home on them.

And it feels great to be home.

I hope to get a recipe out soon.  I have sorely missed my little kitchen.

Thanks for being so sweet and patient,


Caneel said...

I have tears in my eyes! This is such a beautiful post. And you are just as beautiful as always, if not more! Travis' daughter is so precious! I love the way you described the sunset, and the little boy Daniel. I've been thinking about you and praying for you this week. I know you're glad to be back in your home. Love you!

Heather-Gathering Spriggs said...

Oh hunny! this is beautiful. thank you. your words are delicious and better than any national geographic photo. thank you for sharing your heart, your story, your family , your heart. great to see you all in photos. wish i could give you a gianormous hug!

Unknown said...

I love the way you describe things. I never saw the skies from DFW to XNA quite as beautiful as you describe, but it really was. I just never took the time to notice. :)

Love you Friend.