Have you ever been so scared of losing someone you love that it’s hard to actually enjoy the time you have together? When I was first married, coupled with my excitement to finally be married to this man of my dreams was an unexpected intense fear of losing him. “Till death do us part” we had vowed. That death part scared me. Crippling fear consumed me at times. A few years passed before I completely rested in God’s sovereignty and overcame that fear. As we approach middle age, I’ve noticed that same fear trying to rear it’s ugly head again.
A few months ago, I knew I was imminently losing someone. Not to death but to a move. Remember the family that I told you about in the last post? The ones that moved across the country and who I miss tremendously. While they were still here, I made a decision I would highly recommend. Knowing they were very likely moving (they were waiting for the exact opportunity to come to full fruition), I conscientiously chose to enjoy them while they were here. When they came and picked up our moving boxes to use, my youngest burst into tears as the reality of the situation hit her for the first time. For a long time she stayed in my comforting embrace. Once she was finally calm again, I told her I wanted her to enjoy them while they were here as well. Even during their last couple days while staying with us before they moved, I kept directing myself to enjoy them while they were still actually present.
Grief could have consumed me those last weeks together as I anticipated the upcoming separation. Now and then grief did pop to the surface and that last morning together was especially hard for me to face. But overall, those last weeks together, even that last morning, were joyful because I intentionally took a mental stance opposite of the one at the beginning of my marriage. I purposely chose to enjoy our limited time together.
Perhaps it’s not a move but a betrayal in a friendship that has tempted you to fear losing additional close friends. Who else might out of the blue break your heart? True, a relationship might end in tragedy as Jesus and Judas’ friendship did. Or David and Uriah’s. But, God has designed us not to be islands but intricately connected with one another through this hard life (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12). We don’t know what tomorrow holds. We don’t know if a friend will be faithful or betray us. But we can follow Jesus’ example who loved His 12 friends so much that none of the other 11 friends knew anything was amiss between Jesus and Judas. (John 13:21-22) Wouldn’t we be better off choosing to enjoy our friends while they are in our life rather than fear what might unexpectedly happen in the future?
This mental stance of enjoying people while they are here could be adopted towards our kids as well. Both the unborn and the breathing. Having endured five miscarriages, I know that it can be hard to relax and enjoy pregnancy. But, what if we intentionally chose to be thankful for every movement of the unborn image of God? To revel in every ultrasound of the tiniest humans alive. I know this focus does not come naturally. Recently, I’ve had to battle anxiety over my out of the womb children. So many circumstances in this cursed world could cut their lives abruptly short and I seem to notice 99% of those possible scenarios. But, my children are alive. They are with me. They are breathing. Should I really spend my life with them focused on them dying unexpectedly? Wouldn’t it be a much happier parenting experience if I just chose to enjoy them while they were here?
Even in more transient relationships, an attitude of enjoying the relationship can be helpful. Shortly after we started our martial arts adventure, I could tell that the various relationships would mostly be short lived. Students came and went. Even instructors only lasted so long. It was just the nature of the activity and business. A temptation was to remain distant knowing the relationships would end in a matter of time. However, no one is guaranteed to be in our life forever. So I conscientiously choose to enjoy the people at the dojo no matter how briefly our paths crossed.
Who do you fear losing? How about today we choose to enjoy them instead? Their smile. Their laugh. Their silliness. Their seriousness. Their talents. Their questions. Their interests. Their jokes. Their snuggles.
Are you savoring the priceless moments of today?