Small shoulders hunched up to her quivering chin. Her face was pinched as she fought back tears. Some divine insight caused me to say, “You know, it’s okay to be sad about this.” The dam broke and she threw herself into my arms and cried.
I realized in that moment that I was familiar with her pain. When I was her age I had the same pain. I don’t remember anyone telling me that it was okay to be sad.
The summer I turned eight we made the first big move that I remembered. Up until then my world was quite complete. We had a lovely house on the top of the ravine which was perfect for sledding in winter. My best friend lived down the back alley. I learned to ride a two wheeler in that alley. If I kept going around the corner I’d run into the church where there were happy memories of story times and crafts and warm, friendly faces.
Past the church and across a green space lived Aunt Betty whom I loved and who loved me. She watched me while mom was at work. If I went the opposite direction from my house I would go through the park and over to school where the best teachers in the world were. Across from the school was my piano teacher’s house and down from there was Aunt Katie, Auntie Betty’s sister who was just as wonderful.
This was my perfect world, which was shattered when it was announced that we were moving from my cozy little nest in Three Hills to a place called Englefeld, Saskatchewan. I had no desire to move. Dad went ahead while we finished out the school year which left mom with work, packing and caring for the four of us. I’m sure she didn’t have time to consider how I might be feeling about all this. I am also sure that she and dad had prayerfully and carefully made the decision. And we were off. I can still remember my nightmares.
Looking back now I realize that it was probably just as difficult a move for the rest of my siblings and most likely my mom and dad, too. We were happy where we were but the Lord had led my parents to move and so it was done. I had to leave all that I knew and loved behind. I was only eight and so I processed that move as an eight year old.
When my husband and I realized our need for a sabbatical from ministry and all our advisers said in order to really rest you will need to come away completely from where you are I sobbed. I sat on my bed and that little eight year old girl inside of me wailed her protest, “I don’t want to move!” And Jesus met my eight year old self in that moment and held me and told me it was going to be okay, that there were good things awaiting me. And we moved anyway.
This comfort that the Lord gave me was what I needed to help my daughter weather the storm of emotions that she faced as we moved and she left behind all that was dear and familiar to her. She definitely got the better deal since we only moved two hours away. My strong desire was to protect her from the heartache I knew she would face but it was through having lived my own disappointment that I could hold out hope to her.
The circumstances didn’t change for either of us. The moves still happened. Jesus helped me see that even though I may be stepping AWAY from one thing, I was stepping TOWARD something else. There was an opportunity for blessing through obedience and even though it’s been difficult at times, we can see the blessing.
The lesson here is this:
It is okay to feel the pain of loss, it’s okay and necessary to grieve our disappointments, it opens the doorway for comfort and hope to come.