In the past months I have become painfully aware of a phenomenon we don’t often think about. It is called “separation anxiety’. Life is a series of “letting go” in relationships and places. “Separation” is painful and takes it toll on our lives. Yet when “separations” happen we can thank God for those blessings we have experienced.
Do you remember your first day of school? I remember the time, on a hot summer day, that my mother let go of my hand for me to get on the school bus headed for Agnes Cotton Elementary in San Antonio. She stood there as the school bus pulled away. I so badly wanted to cry, but didn’t want the other children to laugh at me. My best guess is that mother got into our 1952 Ford Fairlane and followed the bus.
Rev. Harold L. Warlick writes of his first “separation” in his book “Homeward Bound.” He writes, “Looking back, that time of “letting go” of mother’s hand was a necessary step. It was indeed the time to “let go” and enter another experience. Life is essentially a series of separations.”
Friends are gained and then we separate. Family is given to us for a time to cherish and love then we are separated. We have our hometowns then often we are separated from them. My favorite place on earth was Norman Station, Indiana where mother, my brother and I loved for two years while my father was in Korea. We lived in a two story, white country farm house. Close by were the beautiful southern Indiana hills and corn fields galore.
I learned to hunt squirrels for food from my grandfather. My grandfather had a ½ acre garden behind the house with corn, potatoes, rhubarb, cucumbers, tomatoes, etc. We would sit on the back porch and “shuck” corn; snap green beans, then every meal in the summer would be from the garden. Every afternoon in the summer my grandfather would walk with me to Harce George’s store, across the railroad tracks, about 200 yards from the house, where he would meet with other farmers and I would always get a Pepsi, Cream Soda, or ice cream. How I Iooked forward to that.
Six years ago I went back to see my favorite place on earth. It was gone, except the smokehouse with my old basketball goal on the south side where we would play basketball in the snow. The house was gone; the garden was gone; it was occupied by an ugly shack and junk in the former garden. That was a tremendous time of “separation” for me. I remember standing there and meditating on how sad for me to see the changes.
Warlick correctly states, “Sometimes we even let go of attitudes and beliefs. In those times of “letting go” we come to realize how intensely loyal we are to the people, places and attitudes which have shaped us.” We “let go” of our grandparents; parents; family; parental roles; and spouses. As a pastor I have had the pleasure of witnessing separations at weddings, funerals, family reunions, et.al.
It is good to contemplate our “separations,” because the more separations we have had the more blessings we have experienced. The Bible is full of separations and we will continue with a study of that next week.