Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Solitude... "absence make the heart grow fonder" or is it "out of sight out of mind"?

My past five months have been that of solitude. As defined by Merriam-Webster solitude is the quality or state of being alone or remote from society: seclusion; a lonely place (such as a desert).  While I was not alone or in seclusion or in solitary confinement...I was without my best friend, my true love.  My boys were with me, but due to the calling on our life Kevin was an hour away. Our family unit was not as it was supposed to be. We knew it wouldn't be fun or easy but it was necessary so he could pastor the the church to which our family had been called. At first it was like we were dating again with lots of excitement to just say hi or see each other for a few minutes, but after almost 23 years of marriage only seeing each other about 3 nights a week was hard. It wasn't fun, especially since my love language is "quality time" as defined by Gary Chapman in his book The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts - it is a great book, read it sometime! (To Discover Your Love Language Click Here) We knew it was going to be over in a few months so I thought I would make the best of it. I had great plans of all the things I could get done while he was at the other house...cleaning out closets cabinets, drawers...but I found myself just wanting to go home, not cook supper, take a bath and go to bed. Twenty years ago (before kids) we lived 2 hours apart for 2 year while married and attending college; we had done this before, 5 months should be a piece of cake compared to 2 years, right!?! Well, I guess I am older and set in my ways, I did not like it! It was even hard to talk on the phone because his was either ringing all the time or I couldn't talk very well. About two months ago I finally went to the doctor for my voice - I had been hoarse since September and it was getting worse! I ENJOY TALKING A LOT and I like to talk LOUD!!! I was told I had a vocal cord granuloma caused by coughing and talking too much, talking too loud, and general overuse...imagine that!!! I was told to not sing for two months (I didn't know I enjoyed singing until I was told to stop), to try to not cough, and to talk just above a whisper (almost impossible but I done it some...with the help of my kids and Kev telling me "SHHHHH!") FINALLY, my voice is coming back!!! Praise the Lord!  For a few weeks Kevin and I had to text more than talk because of my voice. His life was busy, there were weeks that a glance across the room was a "hello" or " bye" as we would head back to Lake City. Does "absence make the heart grow fonder" or is it "out of sight out of mind"? It depends on what you put into the relationship. Do you want it to grow stronger or fade away? Do what God called you to do as a spouse or friend, then things will align and keep the relationship strong. Put effort into it. Relationships take work. Being apart takes work. A text can light up your face, or an unanswered phone call can break your heart.  Satan attacks when you are weak and lonely. You have to learn to be intentional and purposeful with the time you have, make the most of the time, treasure the moments, minutes, or any time you have, no matter how short or how many interruptions. When you want to succeed you will. What this experience has taught me is to have a much greater compassion for those who have no choice in this lifestyle - for those forced to be apart while their child is being born because they are active military defending our country; or are missing their families while protecting us, for those who live across the world from family because they are called to be missionaries; for those who are lonely because they have forever lost the love of their life on this earth. My solitude ends TONIGHT...we are all back under one roof again, we are our family again, we are HOME! Excuse me, if a have a glow the next few days....life is back to as it should be for us and that makes me happy, happy, happy! I see patients every day who live daily as we did for 5 months, this is their everyday normal.  When  you see people in these situations, I challenge you to love on them, love them big...a listening ear, a hug or a smile of understanding could turn their day around. It could put a smile on their face and in their heart! Let others know you love and appreciate them. Walk a mile in their shoes with them. We are told to love one another so others will see that we are Jesus' disciples in John 13:34-35. Are we being the salt and light as much as we should?
Treasure your moments! Love deeply! While I am super excited my journey is ending, this solitude may be just beginning for many others in this world. Our two sons may be being a form of solitude also.  Matthew graduated last week, so as my Daddy says, "Welcome to the grown-up world!". Today our youngest, Michael, walks the halls of Bay High School for the last time. He has to say "until I see you again" to friends and teachers - he really does like them! His new world is really just beginning. Our oldest, Matthew, leaves for E-team Kazakhstan  June 8-28th, just when the boys are starting to get close and like hanging out as brothers. Then Matthew will move off to Nashville to attend Welch College in August as Michael makes a transition into a new school in Pocahontas. I will never forget the day my sister got married and moved out...it was horrible. There are people all around us going through some sort of solitude. Look for them, reach out to them. Try to figure out their love language and express it the best way you can as a friend, as a follower of Christ. Love others! Give THANKS because HIS LOVE endures FOREVER! 

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