There’s a big ol’ hole in my heart right now. This morning, after living with us for four months, our sweet daughter, our awesome son-in-law, and their two precious children had us drop them off at the airport to catch the first of their two flights that will take them 4,000 miles away from us. We spent the morning lingering over our coffee and soaking in every minute of watching our grandchildren, drawing them close for hugs and kisses before they wiggled away again. I sat my granddaughter on the counter for one last time and held her close as she helped press the button on the blender of protein shake, which we shared with two straws once more. I knelt down to hold my grandson’s face close to mine, hiding his eyes and counting to ten together, so we could play hide and seek with his mom and dad. We laughed and talked like it was any other morning, careful not to dwell on what was coming.
This isn’t our first rodeo in saying good-bye to our children as they fly away in obedience to serving God in a foreign land, but this time seemed a bit harder. Living in the same house for four months tends to bind your hearts together in unique ways. I admit it; there were days when I had to carve out a few minutes to be alone. I am a grandma after all (you know – old). But I wouldn’t trade one second we got to spend with them. I have so much respect for our daughters and their husbands who are parenting little ones. You forget what it feels like to have someone need your attention 24-7. We were so blessed, privileged, and humbled to get to share this time with our kids.
As much as my heart hurts today when I think about how far away, they will be, I am comforted by the prospect of Zoom and Facetime calls to catch up and keep the bonds of family intact. And, hopefully, by the time Spring rolls around, COVID will have released its grip enough to allow us to buy a plane ticket of our own and invite ourselves into the place where God has sent them. Lord willing, we will be together again before long.
This afternoon, I cleaned out my pantry, gathering a bag of leftover “kid-friendly” snacks to pass on to my other grandchildren (and throwing away those weird chips my son-in-law eats 😊), picked up toys that we left strewn across the living room, and began pulling sheets off the crib and bed my grandchildren slept in. I recall how much joy I had in preparing our home for their visit. I put a lot of thought and time into rearranging and furnishing rooms to make their time with us as comfortable as possible. Preparing our home for their arrival was pure joy. And again, remembering that joy, I feel that hole in my heart to know they won’t be back to enjoy it anytime soon. That crib is going to be dismantled in short order because I can’t look at it every day. (Sorry, Cam…you’re going to have to use the pack-and-play.)
The thought occurs how God’s heart must have felt when He created our world, planted a garden, and placed Adam and Eve into their new home – a home He shared with them as He walked with them in the cool of each day. Scripture tells us that after each day’s creation, He stepped back, and called it “good.” I imagine He knew it was a place that would bring them joy, and where they would feel at home. How delighted He must have been, to bring Adam and Eve into the garden, and show them what He had done for them.
I’m reminded, also, of the sorrow that God experienced when He had to send them out of the garden because of their decision to sin, knowing it would be a very long time before they would be able to return to the beautiful place He had created for them. I believe God longs for fellowship with us, not to fill any void in His own heart, as He is eternal, self-existent, and whole, but because He created us to experience a relationship with Him. Does He think about the day when all of His children will be reunited with Him, in the new heavens and earth? Does His heart ache for us, like I ache to hold my children and grandchildren?
Jesus comforted His disciples in anticipation of His departure, that He was going to prepare a place for them. I can’t imagine what that place must be, but this I know … it will be home. The hole that our sin left in God’s heart will be healed when we are all home again, together.
Do you know Christ? Is He your Savior and Lord? The joy of Christmas is remembering that this is not our home and that saying good-bye to our loved ones, whether at the airport or the graveyard, is only a temporary separation if we know Jesus. One day, all the holes in our hearts will be filled. No more ugly crying alone in the shower (thank goodness!). We will be together, forever. Even so, come Lord Jesus!