I was standing at the baggage claim in the Salt Lake International Airport, trying to keep our four suitcases in an upright position and Micah, my 3 year-old son, by my side all the while carrying my 9-week-old infant in a sling across my chest along with my bulging diaper bag and ridiculously heavy purse. Then, I saw him. My husband, Britton, came calmly walking towards us, and I breathed a sigh of relief; I was home. After nearly three weeks visiting Texas, I was finally back to my new home, Utah.
It was a treasure to be able to see all of our family after such a long time without them. Micah and Judah got to fatten up on grandparent time, and were undoubtedly stuffed with tons of love. This visit became difficult towards the end though. Saying goodbye is never easy for myself, but now Micah had begun to experience it too. So, when the car door closed, and he had given Brit’s parents kisses, he said to me, “I’m going to miss Nanna and Papa here in Texas when we go to the airport.” When I looked back at him, my heart broke. Big crocodile tears streaked down his exhausted face. These goodbyes weren’t just my burden anymore; he shared them too.
That night, I wrestled with my emotions as doubts and fears flooded through me. In a moment of intense longing, longing for my family and friends that I would soon have to leave, God spoke so tenderly to me. Through all of my doubts He whispered truth that is this. Through separation, we learn to love more deeply. I prize moments that before I took for granted. The same is true with the rest of this life. To feel the pains of absence is to know the pleasure of one’s company. To know sorrow is to cherish the ecstasy of joy, and to know death is to understand the preciousness of every living breath in life.
Knowing this doesn’t necessarily make things less painful in the trying times, but it does provide us with peace for God is muddying His hands in our soul’s rough clay, rubbing away the imperfections through life’s trials.
While the distance from here to West Texas is not getting any shorter, I do know one thing. My love for my family grows stronger, and that love bridges the hundreds of miles between us. For that, I am thankful to our God for bringing us here to Lakeside where we are another of family to come home to, where we stand by one another and experience the paradoxes of life together. While pain inevitably will come in our lives and we will continuously ask why during those times, we can rest assured that our Maker has us right where He wants us to be while He smoothes away our rough edges.