"You can paint?" she asked. I had checked into it when we decided to apply for post housing for the first time.
"Yes, I just have to paint everything back white before we move." She laughed.
Trust me, I know how silly it sounds. Really, I do.
I didn't paint our first house because we knew we wouldn't be there "forever." It took almost a year to really hang any pictures. Took almost two years for my husband and I to decide that mounting the TV to get it out of the reach of a toddler was worth patching the wall when we moved. I didn't plant flowers until the final spring we were in that house because what was the point of planting something I wouldn't enjoy when they got to bloom. I didn't turn the bonus room into much of anything until we were showing the house to rent. I didn't paint my first son's nursery because it was just going to be a "temporary" room.
We didn't build a fence. We didn't plant any trees. We barely did any landscaping. We didn't make that house a home - because it was temporary.
This time will be different.
I am going to paint. I am going to paint because for two years that post house is going to be my home. For two years my children will make memories in it and at some point scribble on the walls with a crayon that somehow wasn't in the drawer out of their reach. For two years I will invite people into my home - not a temporary place to stay. For two (maybe - crossing fingers - three) years I will cook in that kitchen and watch my children's faces brighten as they turn on the Christmas lights strung along our painted walls and through the garland wrapped around our banister. For two to three years two little brothers will share toys and color and build a friendship in a decorated, painted room with pictures hung on the wall and airplanes hanging from the ceiling.
I will plant flowers that will bloom for the next family that makes this house their home. I will plant flowers that will bloom for me and nurture flowers that will grow for them. I will make a welcoming entry for whatever spouse finds her way to my doorstep. I will take a cut of my mother-in-law's wisteria tree that was taken from her mother's house and plant it in the small yard and I will do it again every place that we go with the hopes that other's will do the same.
I will add color to our daily life, add our life to this house. I will take my time and my energy and turn just another house into another important part of our journey. I will make it ours while it is ours because all of the houses are temporary but the memories are not.
And what is so amazing about army wives and supportive parents is, even if they roll their eyes, even if they laugh at me too, they will take up a roll of blue tape and a paintbrush and a bucket (and maybe a glass of wine) and help to make a home with me.
Everything is temporary ... and I am going to paint!
"A soldier doesn't fight because he hates what is in front of him. A soldier fights because he loves what he left behind." - unknown
"God is our refuge and strength. He will protect us and make us strong" (ps 46:1). For those who will fly today, for those who are there now, and for those who will soon join the fight, Lord, shield them from all evil, strengthen their hearts, and bring them home safely.