I never used to understand why my mom got (still gets) teary-eyed when any of her kids say goodbye after a visit.
Oh, yes. My son will confirm it. I have turned into my mom. I do okay when Sam comes home from college for an overnight (read: laundry and haircut) or a rare whole weekend, but when the family is together for longer periods of time I get wonderfully used to Sam's personality, voice, and energy filling our home, and those darn tear ducts act up when he pulls out of the driveway.
I was probably born in the wrong century. A hundred years ago, kids rarely moved further than the next farm over.
My son is being and doing everything he is supposed to....grow into responsible adulthood, finish college, get a job upon graduation, and step into his dreams and goals for his future. Not for one second do I want him NOT to be doing all those things. Not for one second.
Tell that to my heart.
There is something inherently unnatural to be separated from someone you love more than your own heartbeat. Mothers hold spaces in their souls that are never filled when those children are not within hugging distance. My heart is fullest when my family is together.
What makes it easier to live with this separation is knowing that Sam likes to come back to the "haven" that is home. He doesn't visit out of any emotional responsibility to us. He comes because home is always home, and because we have created what I hope will always be a soft place to fall. We make the most out of each visit, loving the return to all of the quirky, sweet, and unique traditions that make us us, before he grabs his duffle bag and points the car east to return to college/adult life.
Separation is hard. But knowing it is always temporary makes is easier. When Sam came up to the cabin last week for 3 days, it was our longest chunk of time together in 3 months, and it was just some of the best days of the summer. I drank it in.
When he left, I went out on a plastic float on the lake and thought about separation, and I thought about how excruciating eternal separation from God would be. The Bible tells us that hell is an eternity in the lake of fire. Eternal torture and pain. Never can you pray to Him or feel His love, or hear His voice or experience His grace, mercy, or forgiveness. His blessings are unavailable to you. The certainty of a glorious eternity in heaven is gone.
There is only one thing that insures eternal separation from the One we are to love above all others.
We are all sinners (Rom 3:23). And we all deserve hell as a result.
But Jesus paid the price for our sins by becoming the sacrifice God demanded for the sins of mankind. Jesus created the way for all of us to avoid eternal separation from God. What He did, however, is meaningless unless we acknowledge His death and resurrection as the only way to eternal life with our Savior. John 14:6 tells us that no person can come to the Father except through Jesus Christ. He is the ONLY way.
We need to believe the gospel is true, believe He died for each of us personally, and believe that His triumph over the grave makes Him our Savior.
Would I ever in a million years risk eternal separation from my child for any reason?
Even more would I never risk eternal damnation and being cut off from the source of my being and greatest Love of my life.
For those of you who have not thought about the price of your sin and how to insure that you will never have to live with the pain of being severed from the Lord, maybe today is the day you consider how easy God has made it for us to "go home" with Him someday and find your Divine soft place to fall.