My sons arrived home from college last night for Thanksgiving break. It’s my middle son’s first time home this first semester of his college career. He’s apparently taken to working puzzles in his downtime and had bought a 1000 piece puzzle to work on over break. Once we had dinner and settled into other activities, he disappeared for a while. I found him and his best friend in our laundry room with the puzzle started on a card table. I had to smile, and I couldn’t resist when he asked me to help find edge pieces, even though I’m not that into working puzzles.
My other son, the oldest, also reconnected with friends as soon as he could after unloading dirty laundry at our house. Even my daughter, who is still in high school, could barely wait until after dinner to ask if she could spend the night with friends, since they wouldn’t have school the next five days. How good it is to see that my children have strong friendships, people who care about them and want to spend time with them, and people with whom my children can feel loved and accepted.
Time and distance away from friends can often strengthen the relationships and turn time spent together from quantity time to quality time. Many times in our lives we don’t choose to be separate from our friends; absence is forced upon us by life circumstances. Yet, there are times when we need to step away for a while, for the emotional good of ourselves and/or our friends.
We are made for relationships, with God and with others, but sometimes the brokenness of this world prevents us from being healthy in our relationships. We can hurt one another with words or actions we do or we forget to do. Friends can get too close, pull away, develop unrealistic expectations, fail to communicate well, push one another away with our self-defense, long to be with each other so much we smother our friendship, develop a dependency on the other that leads to an addictive obsession, or any number of other negative effects that could materialize because we are wounded people in a sinful world….and we were made for so much more. Our hearts long for that “so much more” to be restored so that we can live in love with each other as we were created to do.
Here in the middle of my life I’ve been learning that there are times I might need to step back from a friendship, or that a friend might need to pull away for a while. These times don’t mean we love the other any less or that we don’t desire to be in their company. In fact, the opposite can be quite true. Purposeful separation can be evidence of intense love and care for the other, to the point that we are willing to sacrifice time spent together in order to help the other, or ourselves, be emotionally stable and healthy. Sometimes it is because we are trying to be supportive of the other relationships in our friends’ lives, or the other ones in our own life, knowing that we only can give so much of ourselves to so many relationships without burning out or breaking down needed boundaries or confusing our priorities, etc.
I wonder at times if our humanity simply cannot hold all the love we feel at times, if the “so much more” we are longing to recover is more about love than anything else. I long for the day when our love will be completely purified and when we will be set free from our human limitations, able to live with and express the boundless love which we were created for from the beginning of Creation, one with the Father, Son, and Spirit as well as one in the True Body…….all together in love in the Kingdom to come.
Until then….I pray for His Kingdom to come on Earth, as it is in Heaven, more and more….