Peter said to him, "We have left all we had to follow you!"
"I tell you the truth," Jesus said to them, "no one who has left home or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God will fail to receive many times as much in this age and, in the age to come, eternal life." (Luke 18:28-20 – NIV)
When we moved to Small Town it created incredible upheaval in all our lives. I am convinced God had led us here and I would have been wrong not to follow. However, in the process of moving, roots had been savagely torn from the soil of all our births.
The land and people we had always known were now hours away. It would take strategic planning and significant cash to revisit the land of our youth.
My daughter probably adjusted the quickest, although I soon followed. She found friends readily and life seemed better for her than any of us could remember.
My wife and son, however, lamented the passing of better days. Often when we were driving in Bigger Town my son would tell me he wanted to go home. When I said we would return to Small Town soon he would respond, “That’s not home.”
My wife agreed.
They say time has a way of healing wounds and so it was with our divinely orchestrated, yet still very difficult move. I love the ministry God has brought me to and my wife absolutely loves her job. Our children have more friends and more freedom than they have ever had before and we were in agreement – this was a great move. That is until July 18th, 2007.
For it was on this date that my daughter expressed grief regarding the move for the first time. Somehow, in the midst of all the packing, moving and relocating she misplaced her ability to grieve. It was on one of those strategic visits back to visit family and friends that she found it and broke the vial of sorrow covering every part of her being.
We were unaware of the incident because it had delayed repercussions.
It was when we returned to Small Town that I heard the first hint that something had changed, “Daddy, do you every think we will move back?”
When I reminded her that she had thought so highly of Small Town and our new state she replied, “I know, but wouldn’t it be nice to move back sometime?”
“Do you think Pastor Scott still knows who I am?”
“Couldn’t we just move back during the summers?”
“Don’t you miss Grandma and Grandpa?”
“Couldn’t we move back even if you didn’t have a job there?”
“I want to go home!”
Questions and bold statements rushed from her lips and it was clear to see that this well-adjusted girl with so many new friends had discovered grief and embraced it as a close companion.
Perhaps she never allowed herself the opportunity to properly grieve her loss when we moved, but she is making up for the oversight.
Grief can be a bit ethereal. Colors are dull, sounds are muffled and decision-making can be impaired. Food tastes flat, the laughter of others makes us uncomfortable and we are certain no one has ever felt such despair and loneliness.
It doesn’t even really seem to help when well meaning people bring up Adam and Eve who were kicked out of the Garden of Eden and how difficult that must have been for them. We could care less about how Abraham and Sarah must have felt leaving their homeland late in life to start a family in a new country. Noah’s story is meaningless even though a year in a floating zoo resulted in the discovery of a land he did not recognize and without peer.
So many great examples of what it is like to grieve the loss of real estate, yet for the grieving it means enduring the pain of a fresh lancing of the wound.
I know there will be time for these analogies with my daughter, but for now I will take a cue from the type of friend Job wanted. I will simply hold my daughter when the tears come and let her cry for the land she has left behind – and yearns for still.
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