Departures and Arrivals

Leaving hurts. Even if what you’re going to is exactly where you want to be, it still hurts to leave (insert person, place, or thing here) behind. Yesterday, I had to leave my beautiful daughter and her family behind in Denmark and make my way back to Kentucky and home. Home is where I need to be, and I was excited to come home. But it hurt so badly to leave them standing on the other side of airport security, the baby sleeping in his daddy’s arms with his quilt wrapped around him.

Knowing when to leave. It’s a valuable skill. I went to be a help to my daughter with her new baby. I cooked meals and cleaned the kitchen, helped with laundry, and took care of the baby so she could sleep some. I cherished the time we had together, talking and sharing the “how to” information every new momma needs from her own mother. Precious time. But I couldn’t stay forever (even though I could’ve rocked that baby at least another month!) She is already a great mother, and I needed to come home so she can get on with raising her child.

Jesus knew it was time to leave. He had been walking with his disciples every day, dust collecting in their sandals. They had been learning “how to” bring God’s kingdom here on earth… “How to” live without him all along and hadn’t realized it. When the time came for Jesus to return to his Father, it was painful for those left behind. Jesus said himself in John 16:7, “I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper [Holy Spirit] will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.”

Hindsight is always so much clearer. Jesus knew his friends and followers were too dependent on his physical person, but they didn’t know it. They didn’t know how strong they were, or how much they had learned until Jesus was gone, and they had to put into practice everything he had told them. And I think it hurt Jesus to leave them, too. After all, he had poured himself into them… Spent every day with them… Shared every meal, laughed and cried with them… But it was time for him to go Home.

I’m thankful Jesus left the Holy Spirit here with us, our comforter, our helper. And I’m thankful for technology! Skype and other smart phone apps allow me to talk to my daughter, see her face and watch that baby grow. It helps take the sting out of having to leave.

I have a Carol King song in my head this morning. “Where you lead, I will follow. Anywhere that you tell me to.”

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