Saturday, February 26, 2011

Absence Does and The Grass Isn't

For ten days my wife and children are visiting family in Camas, WA while I'm in Boise. I have responsibilities. It all made sense at the time, I had classes in Portland and Pastors Conference would be begin a week and a half later, so my family might as well stay behind, they wouldn't have to make the drive back to Boise and they could spend some extra time visiting friends and family. I'll be fine, I said. No biggie.

The truth is, I thought maybe I could use a little peace and quite. Things can get pretty hectic with pregnant wife, tw

o young boys, Graduate schooling, pastoral ministry. I thought maybe this would give me some time and focus I need to get some things done. I thought I might catch a few movies and see friends. Mostly, this has (so far) been a great reminder of how pathetic I am.

I feel myself reverting back to my old college days, leaving piles of clothes around, hair from shaving all around the sink, and consuming copious amounts of shows on Hulu. On Thursday my diet consisted of cereal, a microwave burrito and cereal.

Heather made this incredible collage banner thing that she hung in our room to surprise me. It has some of the letters and poems and notes and pictures from our years together.

Bottom line... I miss my family...a lot. I would trade in the bachelor life for all the chaos and demands and fighting... no contest. And then sometimes they even say really sweet things. Like my son Braden, 4, he said to me on the phone a couple of days ago, "Hi Dad. I just really wanted to connect with you."

So, I feel the pang of loss but it is good in a way. I can feel my affections sort of stewing. I think it will be good for us. It can be easy just to get used to having everyone around.

I wasn't going to do this...but I think I will make a spiritual parallel.

I wonder how often I feel the pang of long or absence from God but call it by a different name. Boredom. Hopelessness. Angst.

I recently heard that Mother Theresa felt completely and utterly abandoned by God for the last 59 years of her life. She wrote all about it in these gut wrenching letters to her spiritual director. As a very young woman she heard a inexplicable voice from God calling her to a ministry among the poorest of the poor. For 59 years she would wake up early every morning, spend an hour in contemplative prayer and then serve the sick and dying and poor in the poorest places in the world.

Do you know what her spiritual director said? That when she was immature God needed to speak in an audible voice. But it is a sign of deep and abiding faith that she didn't hear from God and yet was so faithful.

But, like Mother Theresa, I feel the ache of loss. I am stirred to know that the one day at the end of all things the at-one-ment of God will be fully experienced. And so we pray, Hey dad, I just really wanted to connect with you.

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