I spent some time last evening with dear friends who had just put their daughter and grand-daughter on a plane after a two week visit. The visit had been wonderful, full of joy, and they were in that lovely space, so hard to hold; overflowing with pride and joy and yet bereft at having to face the empty hole their departure left behind.
I, too, had spent the last day or so "being Mom," with all that can entail, both rewarding and challenging, and so we shared a bit about our hopes and dreams for our children, some of the choices we've made along the way, and what it's like to stand back and let them make their own mistakes.
Alan Jones' words this morning have something to say about that, too; reading this book has been like including him in on the conversation that is life.
"The hard lesson to learn about joy is that we have to choose over and over again not to grasp at the world (the people and the things in it) and try to make them our own. Joy is not to be had in possession; and of all the choices that we have to make, there is none harder than having to give up something good for the sake of something better. Giving up a present good for the promise of a greater requires faith and a willingness to risk.
It is suffering of a sort...as if God has placed time-bombs inside us, programmed to go off at certain intervals in order to make a gaping hole in us so that we can continue to be open to life. He is always creating new space in us by means of these explosions."
I have to say -- I find that enormously reassuring; that these occasional blows to the heart always offer an opportunity to turn back toward the Divine Connection, toward the path that leads us home. But it takes a lot of trust to remember that when we're in the thick of things: the dust of these explosions has a way of obscuring our vision...