January 15th marked the one year anniversary of the Masked Marauder Clan's arrival in our current spot. ONE YEAR...I can hardly believe the time has passed so quickly and have found myself doing a lot of reflecting on this past year...it's been interesting to put it mildly. A little over a year ago we arrived in our current location feeling a wild assortment of emotions. If feelings were salad dressing mine would have been Italian...
I remember my mom making it when I was a little girl...she put all the individual ingredients into the container and, until given a vigorous shake, you could see each separate ingredient...the oil, the vinegar, the seasonings, etc. The feelings I experienced upon arriving at my lil spot on the map were much the same.
If memory serves, vinegar and oil are the two primary ingredients of Italian dressing....my oil and vinegar was apprehension and relief. Probably equal amounts of both. The seasonings then were excitement, fear, uncertainty, sorrow, happiness, and the list goes on. Let's talk about the two main ingredients though...apprehension and relief. It really makes for an interesting sensation when equal parts of both are combined.
One part relief...
We were finally safe in a location unknown to Ex Knight. We were safe from any retaliation or retribution Ex Knight might wish administer. He is totally and completely unpredictable when angry and I don't suspect felony criminal charges and two weeks in jail made him a happy camper.
I experienced a HUGE sense of relief when crossing the state line but the relief I felt upon finally reaching my destination can't be adequately expressed with words. You see, half the Masked Marauder Minis came to our present location by plane and the other two drove with me. Pulling out and leaving two of my clan behind was one of the most difficult things I've ever done. And, then there was the drive....me the lone driver of a U-Haul, traveling roads that seemed to go on forever in a vehicle tons bigger than I'd ever driven before in winter of all seasons. Upon arriving and reuniting with the missing members of my clan I was relieved beyond words. We had ALL made it...we were FINALLY safe and we were together. You can't imagine the peace of mind in knowing that he couldn't get us no matter how hard he tried because he had no idea where we were!
One part apprehension...
Arriving wasn't the end though. Really it was a beginning of a new beginning. We had gotten here safely and were together but now came the realization that this was just the beginning. You see, I hadn't really thought about what would happen after we arrived because I was very focused on the act of arriving. Now that I had made the trip safely the realization of what would happen next finally set in. Now I had the daunting task of rebuilding our lives essentially from scratch. This might seem like an easy task, but when you consider we came with virtually NOTHING and had limited resources, it was a lot harder than one might think.
I believe that God put everything and one into EXACTLY the right position and ten days after arriving we were living in our own place. A task I thought would take months took just days. It is true what they say...when God closes a door, He ALWAYS opens a window. In my case, he opened a big bay window.
Now, you remember I said on top of the layers of relief and apprehension came excitement, fear, uncertainty, sorrow, happiness and an endless list of emotions right? It was exciting to have a place to call our own so quickly, it was exciting to move into a new ward and receive a warm and inviting welcome, and we were very excited to think about all the future held in store for us. We still had fear. For the Minis it was mainly the fear of being found. I, your Masked Marauder mainly feared taking care of the Minis. Could I do what it took to provide them with what they needed when my resources were so limited?!?!? Though there were times I didn't think I could, with God's help I always did. The uncertainty I felt related to the on-going criminal case and divorce and wondering what would happen with both and would anything be said or done in either that revealed our location (I guess that is fear again too). And then sorrow...leaving was hard. We said goodbye to some people we really loved and adored not knowing would our paths ever cross again. We lost a LOT in order to gain one of the things we now cherish most...our safety.
So there you have it, why, if feelings were salad dressing mine would be Italian. As I look back, I find I still feel many of these same feelings but now in varying amounts. Most of the apprehension has been replaced by relief and to the seasons we've added joy beyond belief.
To say the last year of our lives was tough is putting it beyond mildly, but I truly believe we've also grown beyond measure. We've experienced some of the biggest heartache and sorrow one could imagine, gone from living in a state of total fear and dread to experiencing a life richly blessed and drowned in happiness and laughter, AND, this is TRULY still only the beginning.
My mom loves Italian dressing and assures me that while the individual ingredients are nasty by themselves when you shake it all and pour in on salad it's great. I don't know about that, but I do know that when I give the bottle of emotions I have a good shake it has all come out OK in the end.