June 20, 1971. I was in college during the VietNam war and the turmoil that that and the 'hippy' movement created. Our generation wanted change. I guess I wasn't that much different. I was finishing my college career and wanted to do something more with my life than just settle down and start teaching. I felt that God had something more for my life and I was ready to step out following His lead. So, two weeks after having received my diploma from Spring Arbor College, I was off to Cochabamba, Bolivia to begin a two-year assignment with the Andes Evangelical Mission under the Christian Service Corps. It was time to begin a new chapter in my life. That chapter led me through a myriad of wonderful experiences building a family that means so much to me.
Now, as we approach June of 2006 I am again ready to turn the page to start a new chapter. I have just finished my teaching career, my children are grown, and now with Daniel we are again looking forward to starting life as part of the retired generation.
We've sold the house.
We are gradually emptying it off boxes and boxes of 'stuff'.
Sorting through our things has brought back so many memories, and I have come to realize that the memories themselves are more important than the 'things'.
We are spending these last weeks here in the U. S. with very mixed emotions, sometimes withtrepidation and yet knowing that every new step is taken under God's care. I'll miss my two granddaughters so very much, and yet I know that the moments we are sharing with them will be memories for them, loving memories.
People ask how I could leave my grandchildren. But I know we'll be back visiting and seeing them on important days. I also know that my own children only saw their Grandma and Grandpa Coates about once a year and yet loved them deeply and knew they were loved.
We've had Novali all this week. We've been able to devote our time to her (and Valerie) and are building those memories that will help them ( and us) carry that love in our hearts.
So we turn the pages, carefully, yet with the determination that at the end of the book, we can set it aside and say, "that was a good read" I'm glad I finished the book.