Thursday, September 27, 2012

Building relationships with a purpose

Love Means Never Having To Say Goodbye... At least that's what the song says!

Damp towels crumpled on the floor...sheets piled up next to the washer...half-filled mugs of cold coffee...I can hold on to these. But how do I grasp the sounds of fading laughter, the camaraderie of just sitting together, raised eyebrows, inside jokes, reaching out for that which is forever elusive...a much-needed relationship between grown daughter and aging parents?

I am tender today. I feel teary and weary, living in the past, present, and future all at once. Many of my hopes and expectations have been tucked back into the prison where I have kept them all these years, locked and guarded for my safety. Like yeast they will bubble and rise, pushing out of their captivity, overflowing into my life and making a sticky gooey mess, one that I clean up again and again.

So today I keep antidote to the pain. I stuff the washer with the sheets and towels, my finger hanging over the “start” button. Ditto for the dishwasher. I know that once they do their work, they will forever remove any trace of my parents having been here. Tears rise up and threaten to overflow, down my face, into my safe and secure life... a life I have spent years ordering, building, and protecting. Blast those tell-tale tears...they always give me away. They scream out that I am still that little girl, hungering for approval and acceptance. And relationship. Before it’s too late.

Spending a couple brief weeks with parents once or twice a year is not enough. It seems like we just get going, teeter on the rim of transparency and openness, each of us wanting to go deeper, and then it’s time for one of us to leave. I want to scream out, “Wait! Don’t go! I need you!” I feel the catch in my throat as we hug good-bye and and the car doors close and the car backs slowly up the driveway. Just like in the fairytale movie “Ever After”, we have a tradition of running to the top of the driveway and waving our arms wildly, making arm-hearts, yelling good-bye at the top of our lungs. Until they are out of sight. Gone.

The older I get, and hopefully the more mature I become, I realize that my longing for a deeper relationship with my parents is’s a reflection of the longing God places in our hearts for Him. It’s the cry of our hearts to know and be known, to love and be loved...unconditionally. I want things to be the way they were supposed to be...before sin fractured all that God created to be good and whole and beautiful.

Cancer. Sickness. Congestive Heart failure. Each of these has been tools in God’s hand that have spurred me on to redeem the time and not wait for our fairytale relationship to begin. It is this longing that keeps me pressing on, that keeps me buying airline tickets and sending on photos of children and grand-children that I love desperately and want so much for them to know.

And then it hits me, sideswipes me really...the truth that has been hiding in the shadows of my soul all along. Yes, I long for us to know one another in a deeper way, to have the relationship I have always hungered for. But more than anything I want them to know Him, my precious Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, my true Hope and Expectation. I want to be in Him, with them, knowing that neither life, nor death, nor things to come will ever separate us from Him and one another. That is what this is really all about.

Someday there will be a final earthly “good-bye”. At that moment, when tears will be streaming down my face again, I want to lift my head up, wave my arms wildly, make arm-hearts and say, beyond the shadow of a doubt, not “goodbye, but “I will see you again. Soon.”

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