When Loving is Hard...

Ann Voskamp has been sharing her heart-worries for her son who is in another country on a mission trip.

It gives me an idea of what my mother went through when I left the country.

For good. (well, I go home for visits)

I left to marry an American and to live in the U.S.

I didn't think it would be hard. I didn't think that one phone call a week wouldn't be more than enough to keep up.

It was hard. One phone call a week isn't enough, although it's about all I can manage.

For some reason, I didn't think I'd miss my baby brother grow into adulthood.

Or that I couldn't really be the big sister to a brother going through heartbreak.

I didn't think about the possibility of nephews. About how they change and grow every day and how I'd want to spend every waking minute with them when I'm visiting home because I see them once a year if I'm lucky.

Or that I would have snatched moments with aging grandparents who would die when I was thousands of miles away. Whose funerals I would miss. Miss the chance to mourn with my family.

I wish I had a picture with me and Pop ...

Blithely, I didn't think of any of that.

And there's no getting any of that back.

But would I change my decision?

And not be married to a man who loves me unconditionally?

And not be challenged in my Anglican faith by his Catholic one? Not to discover that communion was essential to my being?

And not to grow in my faith and my spiritual journey? Not experience God on a Californian mountaintop? And not get to know the monks there and at their East Coast mother house?

And not be a part of a faith community that taught me to pray? That taught me how to love God?

Would I grow and change professionally? Would I have the space to change professionally?

No, a thousand times, no. It hurts not being with family. But I cannot imagine not being here, in this country, in this community, in this time.

Time passes and cannot be recaptured. I treasure the moments I get with family. I try to treasure the time I have here and now (I have to be honest, I'm not always this reflective), to be present.

Because I know the day will come when my circumstances will change again and again.

I can't not love because there's a day when one or the other of us will step out of the other's lives. I've been pretty good at not letting someone in that close, outside of family, but that's changing.

It's a challenge to be open, to be vulnerable, to love, to care, when life could change in an instant.

My husband and I talk about when we retire, move from San Diego, back to Australia and we worry: where will we find a vibrant community like Good Sam?

But we surely will leave Good Sam behind one day and I will miss the friends we've made here like I miss my brothers and my nephews.

One can only live and love... Even when it's so hard.


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