For what we leave behind, we give thanks

I remember well the sunlight streaming through the stained glass windows, dust drifting down to the floor like it had for one hundred years and a thousand Sundays, the sound of little feet pitter-pattering on the wooden floors in the balcony, and the quiet voice of the minister as he lifted his hands heavenward to the Father and prayed a blessing for the souls seated before him. The church that became my church family while I was away at college was so beautiful, so real, and filled my soul on dark and weary days. It was a balm to my soul–the medicine of Gilead.

After seeing a college friend’s photo of the light streaming through the windows at that lovely church, I remembered once again the beloved people, the sermons, and the sound reverberating through the building as hundreds of people raised their voices toward heaven and gave thanks to God for his love. I miss what I remember. For that, I am both happy and sad; for the missing means that I have felt joy and love and God’s grace and can miss what was so dear. In the missing I am sad that such a beloved and dear thing is now only mine to experience as a memory.

How beautiful a thing it is to miss something. For to miss something is to say, “What a beautiful thing I have been given to cherish on this earth; it will remain a joy forever.”

It, too, is a wondrous thing to not miss certain things which we have left behind. Such a wonder speaks to God’s grace permeating the crevices of our souls and making us whole again.

It is a wonderful thing to have lost something in yourself that was broken, sorrowful, or unholy and not miss it. That is the beauty of redemption.

You have redeemed my life from destruction, Lord.

For the friends hundreds of miles away, for the ache in our hearts when heaven and earth separate us from those we love, for the long-past lazy afternoons spent playing with siblings, there is much to give thanks. We give thanks for the love we have felt, the joy we have tasted, and the knowing that we were given a gift, and that was grace. And grace is yet to come.

For what we leave behind, Lord, we give thanks. The best is yet to come.





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