Sunday, August 3, 2008

The Slumber Party

I haven't been to a slumber party since I was a child, but I attended one last night. Although similar to my childhood slumber parties in the giggling and frolicking and the number of bodies squished together in a room, this slumber party was markedly different in that it was all family members attending, and there was a marked undertone of impending loss. Like sand eking its way through an hour glass, the air was thick with the knowledge that there would soon be an end. By about 2:00 a.m. most of us had fallen asleep--a pleasant diversion from the pain of saying goodbye. Searing pain imploded when, at 4:15 a.m., the alarm clock shoved the reality of day and time in our faces. The hour glass was empty; we would be torn from each other for another year.

As I watched our daughters (8 and 11) cling to their brother (20) and beg him not to leav
e them, I hurt not only for our girls, but for the agonizing pain this plea caused our son. I watched as my mom displayed a calm and lightness that I knew belied her shattered heart--a parallel of my own feelings and my own external behavior. I wondered, "Will this saying goodbye ever get any easier?"

After the door closed and Eric headed for the airport with my mom and Teyler, I climbed back in bed and was talking to God, telling him of my pain and my trust in Him to comfort me. And then I heard Noelle's (8) soft whimpering. There she was, curled beside Katie (11), both of them clearly distressed. I sighed, I guess I would have to put my own feelings on the back burner and tend to theirs. It ended up being a good teaching moment to discuss how there is NOTHING that would ever cause us to make this decision to be separated from our family except our desire to follow Jesus. It was interesting to see their ability to grasp this, and surprising, the comfort this knowledge provided. So, today, we all feel a bit raw and a profound painful absence.

Noelle (8 years old), with her loss glistening in her tear-filled eyes, just requested, "Mommy, let's go to the beach today." I think that's a good idea. The solitude and beauty of the ocean is a healing place. It reminds us of the shelter we have in Jesus' arms.

Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer.
From the ends
of the
earth I call to you,
I call as my h
eart grows faint;
lead me to the rock that is higher than
For you have b
een my refuge,
a strong tower aga
inst the foe.
I long to dw
ell in your tent forever
and take refuge in the shelter of your w
alm 61:1-4


Anonymous said...

I understand your pain. It never gets easier....but God is faithful. I'm praying for all of you.

Love, Kye

Carolyn & Armin said...

I was welling up with tears as I read this. I can see the girls just torn with emotion. Armin & I will pray for you all. We miss you, too.