I was doing something as benign as grocery shopping when it happened. I passed by an older man and his wife. Though he didn't look at all like my dad, something about the way the guy walked, his tennis shoes smoothed over on the outside edges of his feet, his breathing a little labored, reminded me of my late father. And the reminder physically hurt. A twinge hit my gut and I actually caught my breath to check the tears.
I have a hard time watching Boston Legal. William Shatner looks SO much like my dad it is eerie. I can't see him without remembering. Even my husband comments every time we watch.
My dad died over three years ago. Why do these things still happen? Why do I get that sick feeling in my stomach every once in a while, making my nose tingle and eyes water? I spent most of my life wishing I had a better relationship with my dad. Why have I grieved so?
“You can kiss your family and friends good-bye
and put miles between you,
but at the same time you carry them with you
in your heart, your mind, your stomach,
because you do not just live in a world
but a world lives in you.”
by Frederick Buechner, in
Telling the Truth: The Gospel as Tragedy, Comedy, and Fairy Tale
Those we love become a part of us. Though the relationships may not be ideal, once we have loved, those people seep into us. They may make us crazy or hurt us deeply. We may struggle to understand and want to shake each other, but our passionate reactions, both good AND bad, prove we have loved them.
This explains so much in my life. This explains why broken relationships plague me years after they've been resolved. This is why I carry around guilt over relationships which are difficult. This is why I long to go home, my real home, in heaven with a God I can't see or touch.
I have loved.
And in loving I am forever changed.
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