Thursday, June 11, 2009

Missing Somebody

I usually think of "missing someone" as being an emotional thing. A loneliness. Pining away. Sorrow over a loss.

But sometimes missing someone is kind of like forgetting that they're not there, and then suddenly being reminded. Like the time we were on vacation without Rachel, and I went to the counter of the fast food restaurant and ordered eight sandwiches. As we divvied up supper, the boys are wondering who gets the extra sandwich. And the ditzy mom says, "WHAT extra sandwich?" Ah. I missed someone; I had failed to account for her absence.

Or before Karen's wedding, when Mom said there were so many things she wanted to call her sister about and just talk to her. Or when I want to phone up Pastor Wiest and ask a question -- but can't. Or when I kept setting a place for Paul at the dinner table after he'd left for college.

I think of Polly and Melody, with their military sons off protecting the rest of us. I think of Karin losing Anna's help and companionship next fall when her baby heads to college. I think of the dear widows at church who had to learn to make half a pot of coffee in the morning instead of a full pot, or learn to cook and shop for one instead of two, or re-arrange the dresser drawers. Sometimes it's those little, practical details where the loneliness becomes vivid.


  1. THAT is what worries me about Mom. And THAT is undoubtedly when that cry she's waiting for will happen.

  2. Well, the tears aren't anything to be afraid of. They'll come. I keep wondering when they'll come for me. So far I've only gotten rather drippy-eyed at different points.

    It IS a lot more convenient if The Cry doesn't happen during the middle of church, or when you're driving, or some other inconvenient time. Although... during church certainly isn't a terrible place -- it's the place where the comfort is to be found, and where the saintly friends are gathered nearby who will understand. Still, though, crying at home is kinda less embarrassing.

    You know what got me super-stupidly? Driving home yesterday, just north of Bloomington, and James Taylor's "Fire and Rain" came on. Good grief. Just because it had "Suzanne" and "Look down upon me, Jesus, ... my time is at hand" and "telephone lines." As I got moisty-eyed over the song, I sat there thinking this was the dumbest thing to cry over. But did that stop me??? Noooo.

    Oh well.

  3. Wow, Susan, you really nailed that one. Adjustments take time. Especially when it's our parents as we've spent so much of our lives with them. Praying for ya as you miss your dad.

  4. Gee, and I got misty eyed when I saw you in church and we were singing:

    If you are sick, if death is near,
    This truth your troubled heart can cheer:
    Christ Jesus saves your soul from death;
    That is the firmest ground of faith.

    I had to force myself to concentrate on my playing and not choke up... and I didn't even know your dad. I'm impressed that the "hymn addict" made it through that!

    A former CUW student that used to attend St. Stephen has an article in the latest Lutheran Witness. She's a nurse now and wrote quite a beautiful article that reflects the peace of believing in the saving grace of baptism. (She held a baby as it died, since the drug addict mother didn't have the strength to.) Thankfully, the mother didn't object to the baby being baptized right at birth by the hospital chaplain. It made all the difference for the nurse as she experienced such a difficult situation.

    Anyway, I am very thankful that you can have that peace about your dad... tears or no tears. I never cried about my grandma that I was very close to when she died. She was so ready to see Jesus, and that was what she wanted in her last years. Sometimes there's just peace when a loved one goes.

    I don't know why I'm rambling here when I should be cooking, but I wanted to check in once... See you soon...

  5. We're singing it again on Wednesday night. And the Schalk piece we've been working on:

    Lord, it belongs not to my care
    whether I die or live.
    To love and serve Thee is my share,
    and this Thy grace must give.
    If life be long I will be glad
    that I may long obey.
    If short then why should I be sad
    to soar to endless day?

    Christ leads us through no darker rooms
    than He went through before.
    He that unto God's kingdom comes
    must enter by this door.
    Come, Lord, when grace has made me meet
    Thy blessed face to see,
    for if Thy work on earth be sweet,
    what will Thy glory be?

    My knowledge of that life is small.
    The eye of faith is dim.
    But tis enough that Christ knows all
    and I shall be with Him.

    I made it through choir practice, and I sang it. I didn't sing it without damp cheeks, but my voice worked, and I did it. And I made it through the Te Deum chorale ("and the white-robed martyrs follow, and from morn to set of sun, through the Church the song goes on"). We're also singing "Lord, Let at Last Thine Angels Come" on Wednesday night. Good golly, I better make sure I go into church well-hydrated! I suspect I may be shedding some salt-water during Mass.

  6. PS to Kathy -- My voice didn't make it through that stanza of "God Loved the World." On the second or third word, I just stopped and listened, and rejoined y'all for the last verse.