The pain of separation

Three conversations:

“I’m so glad you were here for two months and not just a few weeks,” Number One niece mumbled into my chest, choking back tears, my last night in the States.

A few days before her sister, Number Two niece, had told me, “It sure is good you weren’t here for a whole year or it would be even harder to have you leave.” We were backing out of the drive way and I couldn’t look at her in the rear view mirror because it’s hard to drive with tears in your eyes.

The prior weekend Number Three niece had looked at me with her big blue eyes and asked, “Why do you have to go back?”

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Each in her own way was expressing the pain of separation. The ache of not being near people who are dear. The sorrow that comes with hearing about something, as opposed to getting to be there in the midst of it.

As I embraced the physical, emotional and even spiritual pain I felt as I packed my bags, hugged my people, stood in lines and was transported away from them, I saw it as a living metaphor. A metaphor for what sin does and the pain it causes. Sin creates separation. Separation from God. Separation from other people. Even separation from creation and the beauty it can behold. The air in Beijing is so foul this week that with every breath those of us breathing it know that we are separated from what is normal, healthy and good.

Not that I sinned in leaving them. No, that was not sin – but a mirror of the pain that comes with separation.

What is the first thing that Adam and Eve did after disobeying God? They hid out of fear. They were separated from him. Before they had walked with God, enjoying the garden with him, but now they were huddled behind some trees in their homemade fig leaf skirts, experiencing the pain of separation. God in his infinite mercy reached out to them and made them more permanent garments, putting a plan in motion to bridge the gap and close the distance.

Paul assures us in his letter to the Romans that as believers nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God and I believe him.  I wonder what heaven will be like when we will be able to experience being apart from people and yet not feel loss, or pain, or sorrow. Until then, I do feel the pain of separation.

Comments

  1. crying with you and remembering that feeling (pain of separation) all too well these days; wish I had connected with you to talk in person while you were stateside…glad your family situation is better so you were able to return! much love.

  2. Jan dozeman says:

    Amy, I can feel your pain and emotions all too well! We have one week left at home and I have been already asked some of those same questions… You expressed it all so well, and I am comforted with the thoughts of “nothing can separate us from the Father’s love”!
    Love to you–see you soon.

    • Dearest Jan, I know that there are many of us who walk this path. It is not an easy one, but at least we have fellow travelers. It will be good to see you soon! Amy

  3. Oh, yeah. There’s a bunch of us at Bear Valley feeling this pain; it’s been a joy to have you around. You are just a delight and a treasure! Jim

  4. Patty S says:

    Amy, you nailed it. Grief is all about separation. Thanks for linking up to Velvet Ashes today!

  5. Oh, Amy, the separation and the hard goodbyes truly are a reflection of our brokenness. They threaten to break me every time. You have described so well something I think most of us who live far away know well.
    Colleen recently posted…A Glance Is Not EnoughMy Profile

  6. Inspirational as always. The separation from those we love is so painful and has such a strong impact. I loved how you linked this separation, that many of us are all too familiar with, with our separation from God and the pain that causes. Looking forward to the day when all things are restored.

  7. This has been such a difficult week for me as we decided to leave the organization we were with and return to the states. These post are timely but make me grieve more.
    Debbie recently posted…A Chapter of Our Life is ClosingMy Profile

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