“I will sing of the mercies of the LORD forever; with my mouth will I make known Your faithfulness to all generations.”
“For with God nothing will be impossible.”
I don’t know if there’s anything more perky-inducing than checking the mailbox and finding a purplish envelope with “By Air Mail/par avion Royal Mail” stuck on it, then opening the envelope and finding a thick blue paper densely written-upon in handwriting you haven’t seen for over 2 months. It’s enough to make the heart burst. If that isn’t enough, finding a check for $13.86 that you didn’t remember deserving certainly brightens an already bright and wonderful day. And to top it off finding a postcard from Ensenada, B.C. Mexico where apparently one’s grandparents spent some lovely time: well, three pieces of real mail just for me does a body wonderous good.
Even before, though, waking up to realize the temperature had already soared to 45 degrees, that I didn’t need my big blue coat, and that my hair decided to stay in place: frankly I doubt a day could go better. Plus, I heard it’s supposed to snow next Sunday – but of course I’ll be in London. Luke invited me to do something Friday evening with them; I just started glowing, and replied, “Sorry, I’ll be with Ian!” (And started grinning like a complete idiot.)
An amazing realization comes to me when I think that many married or dating couples never spend this kind of time apart: maybe separation is a positive experience. True it hurts, though I think the amount of pain you feel is related to how dependent you are on your spouse, how long you’ve known each other, and so forth. Every couple has different dynamics. But distance is the true test of commitment: if you cannot consider separation for a time, even if it would benefit one or both of the couple, that relationship isn’t as strong as it should be if you want it to last. Avoiding pain selfishly says only that you cannot look out for the best good of your partner, and if you cannot do that your relationship needs improving. If you need your spouse so badly you can’t exist without him/her… well, that’s the time to see a counselor. In my (vast) experience, I’ve grown the most when Ian and I are separated. Not that I don’t grow when we’re together, but forced separation makes you delve into yourself, to find sufficient faith to live through the next however-long. The pain that comes opens a door for God so He can touch you when otherwise you may feel fulfilled with your partner. The emptiness of separation isn’t just an emptiness because you can’t see your loved one daily or weekly; it’s an emptiness that exists no matter what, but its throbbing is dulled when you’re together. Christ alone can fill the difficult hours with joy, so that avoiding the difficulty becomes avoiding reliance on Christ. Every opportunity is given, when you’re apart, for you to give up yourself whereas when you’re feeling “whole” with your partner holding on to who you are is all too easy.
Another thought, not on that topic: Lesley and I were talking the other day about the Bible, and its validity. She obliquely raised points many people can’t accept: she felt uncomfortable with Christianity’s claim that the world and all it contains was created in seven days, by God, exactly how it is. The evidence – she wasn’t too sure on what evidence though; people having muscles to move their ears, she suggested – is too strongly in favor of evolution. There’s a great deal more evidence, but if you don’t want to believe it you may try to refute it. I told her that many more liberal-thinking Christians resolved (to some extent) this difficulty by explaining that the account in Genesis isn’t the literal explanation. These Christians say that is metaphorical, and a “day” could be any enormous span of time in which God guided evolution in a certain direction. But it is difficult to have sat through a semester of pure evolutionist Biology in which the mention of “God” raises hackles faster than Bush is increasing the nation’s debt. Interestingly, even the staunchest pure evolutionist professors cannot refrain from using the words “created” and “designed.” It’s impossible to know in detail any part of biology and not come to the conclusion that this really was designed a certain way. Yet we do have evidence for evolution so strong that theory can’t be discarded either. God-guided evolution? An appealing possibility for those of us who can’t quite accept a literal seven-day creation story.
– KF –