The Relationships We Leave Behind

I spent twenty-five minutes this morning in a sort of odd grief. I watched as picture upon picture flashed before me from our former missionary organization’s Staff Conference. It’s haunting to revisit one-dimensional faces on a computer screen, faces that used to be alive to me–laughing, crying, praising, hoping. It’s like my life’s been reduced to pictures on a hard drive, a memory stick not yet erased.

You can’t easily erase relationships. At least I can’t. Of course I’ve stayed in contact with a few, reveling still in those friends left behind. But, as we all know, it is never the same as being there.

That’s why heaven, which used to make me think of tedium, has become very precious to me. All those relationships left behind will forever be in the now. A conversation won’t have to travel through cyberspace because in heavenspace we’ll all be near as a breath.

Still, I grieve.

Do you ever feel like you become good at grief? I feel like I’m an expert now. Grieving from one place to another. And still, I carry folks inside me. There are days when I still believe my paternal grandparents are alive, though they’ve gone ahead of me in death. All the one dimensional faces I counted as friends stay with me too. They’ve become a part of my grief. And my joy.

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