Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Absence Makes the Heart Grow
Several months ago we had a work day at my church. A couple of Trustees and I spent a good 10 hours doing hard manual labor installing new door jams and a new gas line. It was the kind of work where you are covered in dirt, sweat, blood and muscles you didn't know you had hurt. It was wonderful. Everyone once in awhile I love doing tough manly work that reminds you you're alive. We finished our work that evening and I began the drive home.
When I arrived at my "cozy" studio apartment my roommate wasn't home. My stomach gave a deep roar that echoed off the walls. I collapsed on the couch and tried to fathom what I would make for dinner. I began to think of how wonderful it would be to be married. How joyfully I would hand over my paycheck, take out the trash, change the oil in the car, squish creepy crawlies, fix and repair things and so much more, to come home to a kind woman who would greet my dirty face with a kiss and prepared even the simplest of meals. (As a side note, I love to cook and would do so with great enthusiasm when the situation is reversed.)
While initially this day dream brought pangs of longing, instead of rejecting the desires I decided to open myself, embrace all the feelings and commit them to memory and in this case a blog. I realized that this experience was what would make that day, if it ever comes, so much more meaningful and sweet. The memory of the absence will help me in appreciating my wife and the blessing that she will be to me. I don't presume that this is an absolute and I hope to blog on contentment another time.
What I learned that day was that the absence can be great catalyst to future joy. It makes me think of our Father's "now but not yet" Kingdom. We have a clouded hint of what that day will be like but until then we live with the absence as we long for that day. In the process of our sanctification our hearts can grow and stretch to hold more love and appreciation when we are united in Heaven.
Until either of those days come I will do my best to embrace the absence and cultivate joyful longing.