We kissed goodbye in the hum-drum of Terminal 1, the pale orange light resting on her face as she summoned her carry-on bag en route to be with family in Connecticut.
There's no way to really prepare yourself when your spouse leaves. At least I don't think there is. You can cram extra time together beforehand, and we tried. You can try to keep in touch, and we did, writing short letters every day and retelling each other the reasons why we love each other. But nothing replaces her scent, her frame pressed up against mine, her life and mine sweetly bound in routine, her voice echoing in the room I'm sitting in.
But I guess I also believe, as much as you can't replace that presence, the absence means something.
That's probably true across the board. If you haven't felt near to Jesus for a long night, that night still has something to teach: like,
what did you flirt with instead?
what did you learn about what you actually want?
and did you follow him for the feeling?
And that's a long winding road to arrive at this: I think I learned some important things while she was gone. Here are three big ones:
1. Just because it isn’t quality time doesn’t make it meaningless.
We've been starved for quantity time lately. Or at least it feels like it. So every time we get together, it feels pressure-packed, like every moment has got to be full of meaning and connection and passion. But five days away from her, I realize that what mattered most was that we showed up, that we spent time around each other somehow, whether it meant weeping and praying together and making love at the same time or if it meant baggy shorts and blankets watching the Office.
Like, I'm not saying the former is just as important as the latter. I think I just realized I put way too much pressure having quality time with kase when it's a real good thing we carved time together in the first place.
2. We’re closer to oneness than when we started.
When I sit down somewhere, I've gotten in the habit of emptying my pockets (keys, wallet, tiny notebook & pen). Just in the last month, there have been multiple times where I am leaving said place without any of those things, and Kasey--brilliant and observant person she is-- snags those things before they're lost forever.
Here's the deal: she wasn't there this week to be my safety net. So there multiple times this week where I emptied my pockets and either 1) had to walk back seconds later, or 2) flat left the things.
This is obviously a small thing, but it made me realize that she's slowly filled in a lot of my gaps. If we're trying to get to know people, she asks questions I simply don't think to ask. She makes them feel understood in a way that I just don't. And I'm sure she would say the same thing about me. Somewhere in the last few years, we're closer to this mysterious 'oneness' thing than when we'd started.
3. I like her friendship the most.
On Friday afternoon, I was winding up the road to the church I work at when I saw a pileated woodpecker perched halfway up the telephone pole. I texted kasey immediately, telling her I saw it and yelled holy crap (or something as colorful as the woodpecker I saw) in my car.
She's my lover. She's my partner in the dance. She's at the center of my heart.
But she's also my friend. I like laughing at stupid things together, identifying blue jays calls in the distance, taking walks down the trails, calling each other meester and meesus, calling each other buddies. I like that she halves my sorrows and doubles my joys. And after five days without her I realize that, at least right now, I like her friendship the most.
And, whoa, bet you didn't think you were gonna get four freebies oOooOOooOOOoO wow so much value:
I can eat healthy as long as I have lots of berries at home.
I can cook if cooking means Subway-toasting bread and meat in the oven before throwing on veggies and siracha mayo.
If I can sit alone long enough, I start to like me. I don’t usually feel this way, but in silence I realize I’m freaking hilarious, I have lots of good thoughts and ideas, and I still want to learn Jesus.
My cat and I are tight and I don't care what you think.