"I have to do a lost and diversion in order to get my pilot's license," Ryan said to me as we walked towards the Cessna 150 airplane he was about to fly with his flight instructor.
I trembled with excitement as I climbed into the tiny backseat. I put on my headphones and could hear the air traffic controllers talking to all the airplanes taking off the runway.
Then Ryan went through the call signs and made the approach to take off.
Wow! What a thrill!
We got up to our cruising altitude and the instructor blindfolded Ryan, turned the plane around, flew us in a completely different direction from before, waited a few minutes, then Ryan was told to take off his blindfold.
He unfolded the paper map on his lap, looked out the window, then frantically said into the microphone, "Where am I?"
I laughed out loud and responded, "You're in an airplane!"
He never lived that one down, and neither did I.
I thought about that story as I took a hike with the girls today, walking on the side of the road that Ryan was never able to drive on because they hadn't finished it before he passed away. It's one of the many things we never got to do together.
The incline of the hills in that area are pretty steep. Add to that 60 pounds of baby meat and a beefy stroller, and it's a good recipe for an excellent workout.
I thought about how he had been in Heaven 5 months already, as of yesterday, and how I feel at peace with it finally.
I took an inventory of the past five months and realized that slowly I'd begun to carve out a new life for myself and the girls, one that involved daily exercise and seeing new sights each week.
"Where are we going today?" is Talitha's new daily question after she wakes up and I think she's keen on our adventures too.
The Lord has been showing me that although I need to create new places to become our favorites, some things just won't change.
I won't ever need to have a new identity, because I have the same identity as before - "I am a new creation in Christ. The old things have passed away, and behold [He] makes everything new."
I can rely on the one true God for all of my needs.
And the Lord won't change.
But I still get a twinge when I see something that reminds of me Ryan and our old lives together. Such as the blue VW bug parked on the street where we live. We used to joke that we got points if we saw a blue one, one point per bug, and 2,000 points for any Datsun 510 station wagon.
Instead of yelling, "BLUE BUG! I GET A POINT!" I just smile, and remember old times as I look towards the future with new games and adventures.
I'm excited to see what God has in store for me!