That’s a popular saying, which as a youngster seemed more like a way too small bandaid for such a big wound to the heart. We said goodbye a lot. And it hurt!
Even though it can sound like a platitude in the most tender moments, I have found it to be a true statement. Absence does make the heart grow fonder when there’s a relationship on the line.
In the last year plus, living on the other side of the states, absence has caused our hearts to grow ever more fond of family members and friends. We plot and plan for the next trip with intention. We keep tabs on the cheapest plane tickets to here and there, and we tend to choose FaceTime and voice calls when previously texts would suffice.
My first observation on absence is this then. While I don’t see that familiarity created contempt in our close relationships, I agree that familiarity did create a bit of apathy. Living near can cause us to take people and opportunities for granted. It’s easy to think we can always get together another day.
As I type these words, I’m thinking of my friend, Ammie, and her granddaughter, Lucy.
Both Ammie and Lucy spend their days at the local wee school. Ammie tends to the babies while Lucy attends her big girl class. They see each other at times, but there are stretches of absence throughout the day. Yet, Lucy knows Ammie is in there.
One recent day I got a text from Ammie containing a picture of Lucy. Ammie was inside with babies and Lucy was outside on the playground. Her little face, hot and sweaty, was pressed up tight against the window looking for Ammie! She called through the glass, “Ammie, yoo in ‘der?”
Ammie made herself present at the window and all was well in Lucy’s little world. She was simply checking in. The absence was too much and a bit of face time was necessary for the youngster.
Thus my second observation on absence. I know how much I feel the absence, but it’s easy to think that others experience something akin to “out of sight, out of mind.” It’s normal to wonder if we’re missed in the absence. Questions can irritate our consciousness. Sometimes worry or loneliness settles deep in an absence.
But not so. Lucy taught me this lesson. I know without a doubt, Ammie misses Lucy and looks for her coming through the door. I know for a fact that Ammie wonders what Lucy is doing and hopes that she’s okay. But what I learned that day is that the missing, the wondering and the seeking is mutual.
My last observation is regarding Jesus and His followers. He’s been physically absent from earth for a long time, but He didn’t leave us alone. He gave us His Spirit. And He gave us His promise that He will return.
We feel His absence. We long for His return, or for some of us, our own home going. We wonder if he doesn’t miss us. But maybe like Lucy in a spiritual sense we need to press our faces to the thin space between heaven and earth. Maybe like a child we need to call to Him, “Jesus, are you in there?”
Eyes on Jesus and Shine,
I’m writing today with Kate Motaung and her faithful band of faith writers at Five Minute Friday. This week’s word prompt is absence.
I link up regularly with my friends at