Saturday, August 24, 2013

Love Deeply. Hold Loosely

"I've left enough things behind and seen the good of it to realize that it's not always a bad thing to lose."
- Jon Foreman

We live in a world of impermanence. 

The other day I was on the phone with a very dear friend who lives very far away, and we talked about the way our fast-paced, constantly relocating and moving culture is one where community often becomes a revolving door of short-term associations. Especially at the college age when proximity is temporary, the danger is developing calluses-- no longer choosing to invest in relationships because the cost too far outweighs the seemingly meager return once separation occurs again.

I have started experiencing this on a deep level than normal after a year of constant relocation between my family in Texas, my friends-like-family in Colorado, and the strange culture of Nashville. I often experience a crippling terror of every good thing I encounter leaving, I begin to feel like my story has been one endless string of goodbyes and closing chapters. And the temptation is to simply shut down relationships as the cause of the problem.

I can’t speak for everyone, but I feel like I am not alone in this. Because I am an all-or-nothing extremist at heart, coping tends towards either mourning inconsolably for what I’ve had to leave behind or else ignoring it completely and telling myself I never really cared about all of that so much after all. Both are lies. 

With a world so cracked and bloodied, so far short of what it should have been, we can’t afford to set out to brave adventures alone. But we also can’t expect that we won’t be torn from companions along the way. My favorite story involves fellowship, but one of the key events is the necessary breaking of that fellowship to further the greater overarching purpose each of the characters is assigned. 

The trick is that if we only think about the fact that we could lose good things, the good thing ceases to be enjoyed. When I’m enjoying a set by one of my favorite bands, I never once look at the time to gauge how much longer they have to play. I’m too fully captured by the beauty of the moment. It’s a kind of fearless delight I am learning to strive for when I am with people.

And yet separations come-- and they must. So in the face of this tension, it’s in almost paradoxical balance I find the truth, as is so often the case. My heart wrestles with it, and I don’t quite understand how to do it yet, but I accept it as true: I have to love deeply but hold loosely. I have to stare down the reality that loving will mean heartache, and I have to choose to love anyway. 

Because in the end, my Christ and my experience and my own heart all resonate with the reality that people are worth it. I will love my friends deeply, even when it’s years between meetings. I will love my family with all my heart, even when that means crying through phone conversations because the miles are long and lonely. I will try to let my heart grow to be big enough to accept this moment fully, with joy and with willingness to accept partings when the time comes.

And after all, we live in the age of text messages and facebook that transport our words across the world in seconds. There are ways to make the goodbyes a little easier after all.

“Hold me fast, ‘cause I’m a hopeless wanderer. And I will learn to love the skies I’m under.”
- Mumford & Sons

1 comment:

Sarah Gray said...

What a beautiful way to say something that many people take years to learn and some never do. You can tell that your mother taught you to write but a part of this - the ability to make the reader see, smell and feel what you are writing is a gift. Remember what you wrote today for it will bring you much happiness and many, many friends.