Does Absence Really Make the Heart Grown Fonder?

“Absence makes the heart grow fonder!”  We have all heard that saying a million times.  However, I have to say that I always thought of that saying this way…“Absence makes the heart grow fonder of…a person!”  Don’t get me wrong, during my time away it has made me looooong for a date night to our favorite restaurant with the Love of My Life!  I also have looooonged to lie in bed each morning with my girls and sing them awake before school.  I looooonged to see my dear friends and family.  However, I was amazed that my time away made my “heart grow fonder of…not a person but a thing.”  I can honestly say that…

 “Absence has made my heart grow fonder of my LIFE!”

I chose not to write while I was at home but to take the time to soak up every minute of my stay.  Now, there are many things to reflect on since spending a weekend at home with my family.  Surprisingly, there was so much more that I observed when I took the time to be still and to be fully present.  Below are just a few of my favorites…

  • My bright-eyed, oldest teenager walking downstairs first thing Saturday morning with her hair standing on end, still in her pjs, wanting to sit and recap for me every detail of the days that I had missed.  Fonder…I could have stayed there all day listening to her motherly perspective on how things had gone while I was away.
  • Saturday night, as my “baby” teenager climbing in bed with me and whispering, “I want to sleep with my Momma!” and us holding hands until we fell asleep.  Fonder…I can’t remember the last time I heard her say those words.  Was she three?
  • Standing in the kitchen window for a very long time watching the Love of My Life play “Cheer Coach” to my youngest as he catches, spots and encourages her through each and every tumble, my oldest flipping around the backyard and giving her knowledgeable JV cheerleader insight, both of my four-legged children running and barking at their feet, everyone laughing, joking and loving just being together.  Fonder…Choosing to stop and watch them gave me so many things to treasure in my heart.  Funny that my usual routine, of unloading the dishwasher or sweeping the floors, has never given me something to treasure in my heart.
  • Sitting at the kitchen counter while all was quiet in our house and hearing the recap of what it was like to be both “Mr. Mom & Dad.”  Fonder…As he spoke, I realized how grateful I was that when he said, “I DO in sickness and in health,” he meant it!”
  • Curling up on the sofa with my youngest who was overwhelmed with school, frustrated and in tears over a very big project that was due the next day.  As I rubbed her head and read a chapter of her schoolbook, “Little Men,” her tears slowly dried up.  I then had a de’ja vu moment back to when she was a little girl, and we read so often together.  Fonder…My response today seemed to have a much better and calmer result than what had become my usual response of, “This is what happens when you procrastinate!”
  • Being able to wake up Sunday morning, feel well enough to get dressed, go to church with my family and friends, close my eyes to hear every note of the music sung over me and listen to each word of the message for anything that I could carry away to help me make it through the next round of treatment.  Fonder…I’ve walked through the doors of church hundreds of times, but have I ever once stopped to be grateful for the opportunity to worship there?  I can honestly say, “Not until now!”

I must admit that at first it was hard to reacclimate to the busyness and activity of my own house.  The first few hours of dogs barking, tvs blaring, everyone talking, etc. sounded like the volume was turned up way too loud and felt like pricks to my skin with straight pins.  But as the weekend wore on, I found myself stopping to soak up every minute and actually wanting time to go by soooo slow so I could just stay with them and enjoy every minute of my life that I had actually grown fonder of while I was away.  I also realized that I have hurried through more minutes, hours and days than I can count, and now they have become a blur of hurried years!

One of my new favorite authors, Ann Voskamp, advices these very wise words…

  “Wherever you are…Be fully there!” 

 I realize that “Absence has made my heart grow fonder of…my life!” which in turn, makes me want to “be fully there” in it!  It is then that we, like Mary, the mother of Jesus, will be able to…

“ponder all of these events, treasuring each memory in her heart.”  Luke 2:19

Fonder Always Means More to Ponder!!!

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