Last night my mum came to stay. It was lovely. But now, I’ve got the Lefties. Not left-handed or left-wing or left-hooked. Left behind.
A big hole in the universe where she ought to be. And empty – like I’ve been evacuated too.
Going to uni, I was determined to leave home and counted down the days – but when I did, it felt like my chest had been scooped out. Mum and dad, peeling me from the car seat, like a barnacle from a rock. The car, disappearing from view. And the sheer terror of newness: being where I didn’t know, wasn’t known.
Even though I had left them; feeling like they had left me.
And not just family.
Friends at the airport. Don’t Leave.
People I’ve known for only a few days. Don’t Leave.
First love. Even though it’s not working. Even though we’re better when we’re separate.
The early years of marriage. Just a night apart. Clinging like a drowning woman. Dissolving, as he walked away.
Filling time with people, so I wasn’t ever left. But pushing them away, because they couldn’t promise to stay. Leaving them first.
These days it’s not so bad. I’m learning that humans aren’t anchors. And I’m not a cork on the tide. Even if father, mother, husband or friend depart, the LORD receives me (Psalm 27:10). I’m not an orphan, because Christ’s Spirit is with me (John 14:18). And I have a real Anchor for my soul who will never leave (Hebrews 6:19; 13:5).
When loved ones come, they are not ‘filling the void’. When they leave they are not ‘taking my heart’. And in their coming and going I can learn the meaning of faith, hope and love.
While they’re with me I love them and don’t just demand they prop me up.
When they’re out of my grasp I have faith that God’s grasp will keep them safe.
In the waiting times, I hope in a happy reunion, looking to God’s provision and not mine.
Sometimes when loved ones leave, we grow in the gaps.
Image by Iain Faulkner : source.