If there is one thing that surprises me about the grown-up person I am becoming, it is my tremendous capacity to miss people. Afterall. I'm a child of divorce, rendering me a seasoned household rotater, someone who knows the relationships you are supposed to be able to rely upon like bedrock can lose their solidity. I have never been an overly sentimental person; I like an organized and tidy space and have no trouble purging little talismans. I have a keen and sometimes incredible memory. I don't need the physical stubs from the movie tickets to remind me that you sat on my left at the Cedar Lee Theatre and rubbed the elbow of my sweater and we ate Altoids.
But as a person who pays her taxes and rotates her patio furniture inside during cold months and thinks heavily upon discipline and societal inequities: I am really quite surprised that I have become this grown-up person who misses people. All the time.
I carry a dull ache around everyday, missing my parents 1000 miles away and missing the people that they were to me when we lived closer, steady and quiet and angry and complicated and proud. I miss my sister and I miss my brother and I miss that I've missed so much of their rites of passage. I just walked with them to the bus stop on Bradley Road (irritated the whole time that they were dawdling). Did the bus come and pick those children up? Who is this woman with the grown-up handbags and this man who shaves before he goes to work?
And my friends. I miss the familiarity we once had and somehow all of the ways we connect over phone and web seem so artificial; they do not bridge the distance between us, and sometimes makes the disconnect seem even greater. We broadcast updates in 140 characters to no one in particular. We log in to tune out; we look down to see what is coming our way.
I miss my husband when he is away and when he is home I miss the way that we used to live and I forget to be spontaneous because I am always reaching back to that time when we were once note-writers and bad movie-watchers and latenight snackers. I miss us and I know that I will further miss moments of my life in this blessed present that is the present if I keep on longing for what was. But sometimes...
Pastor Angelo was preaching at Boston Temple a couple of weeks ago and he pointed to the illustration of John, the beloved apostle, who was already missing Jesus before He had even left the earth. How he, John, a grown man, was resting his head on Jesus' chest because he knew that Jesus was going to have to leave soon. And that is how I live my life. Not only because I am 4'10" and I will only ever be able to rest my head in the crook of my beloved's arms or on a loving chest, but the grief that I feel for the missing that is to come sometimes floods my heart all too prematurely.
I am already missing the home that I have not left yet. I am already missing my children who have not grown up and left the house that they will fill with laughter and crayon wrappers that I do not own yet. I already do not make sense about that which has not even taken place to be sensible-sounding.
I am tidy, so tidy on the outside. Purging and packing away. But on the inside, I know I am grief-stricken and looking for a chest into which I can bury my face. But of course I'll keep my face pressed forward; I don't want to miss anything.
*** Dare I look back at this. March 2008. Oh, I miss her.