When Tori, our oldest daughter, took her first trip to Kenya the summer of 2008 just before her senior year of high school, it was the first time I ever felt the weight of being left behind. My family moved a lot and it seemed like I was always the one leaving. But with her trip, she was going and I was staying. Admitedly, I was a bit jealous. I realized that it was much harder on the heart to be the one left behind than to be the one leaving. Not that it’s easy on the leaver, I can assure you it’s not.
The leaver has a to-do list a million miles long. The leaver is busy and has big adventures ahead to look forward to.
The left behind goes about their normal life, which even if not bad is still normal. And they have to figure out how to go about said normal life with a missing piece. Someone who has been present and helpful and a part of their daily life will soon be moving on and will not be present and helpful and a part of their daily life.
All said, the transition is big and hard and emotional for both sides but the leaver walks forward while the left behind is well, left behind.]
As Tommy and Anna and I spend our last couple of days in Texas before flying out to the UK, we hug our kids, the ones we are leaving behind. This alone makes me question my sanity. Leaving them is so hard. So very hard. I cried out to God last night and all but told Him that He’d better make this worth it because I’m seriously wanting to call it quits. My heart is crushed to leave them. I just keep telling myself it’s not as bad as Singapore. Not as far. I can get home quickly. They can get there quickly. And don’t think for one second that I haven’t begged them to move with us. But as I stated before, we have fun and exciting adventures ahead that even they will be a part of when they come to visit. My head tells me it will be worth it. My heart has some catching up to do.
In a conversation with a friend yesterday, she reminded me that leaving our kids hurts so much because we’ve invested in them. Leaving hurts because we love.
We’re not promised a life devoid of pain. On the contrary, we are promised that life will bring pain. Living hurts. Loving hurts.
But it’s worth it.
Right??? Someone reassure me that it’s worth it, please? Because at this moment, I’m pretty sure I’d rather hug my grandson for eternity than galavant around the globe. But alas, that doesn’t pay bills now does it?
For all of history there have been leavers and those left behind. One of the most memorable, of course, being Jesus.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
“You heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe. I will not say much more to you, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold over me, but he comes so that the world may learn that I love the Father and do exactly what my Father has commanded me.
Come now; let us leave.” John 14
For the record, let it be known that I hate leaving my kids and I hate watching my kids leave. I’ve experienced both more times than I’d like and it’s not enjoyable. It’s right but right is rarely easy. I just keep telling myself that what doesn’t kill us will make us stronger. Here’s hoping for the latter…
Although I don’t plan to die anytime soon, I love that even death will not separate the leaver and the left behind. We will see each other again. And I very much look forward to that day whether it be in October or on the other side of the sky.
Come now, let us leave.