Missing a loved one
A few years ago, my older brother, Shawn, came to visit from Montesano, Washington. My older brother is 1 and ½ years older than me, and we are extremely close. We talk on the phone just about every Sunday. Without going into all the details (you can read those in a novel I wrote: Where the Red Cardinals Fly), I will just say that alcohol, drugs, and abuse filled our home as children. Therefore, we depended on each other. We were each other’s mother, father, and sister, and brother. He gave me money for a prom dress if I was short; I gave him gas money if he needed it. He left for the Army right after high school graduation, and I left for the Air Force 1 year later.
Now, in our early 40’s, I find myself clear across the country in Georgia. I have a loving husband (whom is a lot like Shawn.). They say, girls end up marrying someone like their father. Brian has the same qualities as Shawn. They are both caring, compassionate fathers, considerate husbands, hard workers, athletic, funny, and sacrificial. They both have the kind of eyes that reveal the tenderness of their souls. They are both amazing in more ways than I could ever hope to put upon this paper.
Time and money have caused years to pass without us seeing each other. Shawn recently put a stop to us not seeing each other by visiting this summer. It’s expensive to fly a family of four across the county, so Shawn flew down on a solo mission. He said, “Sis, your kids are getting too old; I need to see them before they leave for college! Plus, I need to see you and Brian too.”
We had a wonderful time. We played board games, watched a movie, floated down the Chattahoochee River on inner tubes, swam in the pool, ate corn on the cob, and laughed – a lot! I’m not a cry-baby, so I was surprised when tears flooded my eyes as we dropped Shawn off at the airport. Holding my tears firmly on the fold of my bottom eyelid, I hugged him goodbye. I didn’t want him to know I was sad. He didn’t like to see me sad. He’d worked hard enough during our childhoods to protect me from harm and make me smile. As I watched him walk away, his broad shoulders moved in unison, as his arms swayed, holding his one carry-on bag, wearing his red Eddie Bower polo shirt, his blue jeans, and his leather white Nike shoes. His head was up, and his chin forward as the big double doors slid open. He was gone.
As the doors shut behind him, the floodgates of my eyes opened. I felt overwhelmed with sadness. I had to sit down. Thank God my wonderful husband was driving today. I hadn’t planned on tearing up like this. I thought it would pass, but as Brian drove us through the passenger drop-off point and onto the freeway, every tear was replaced by at least three to five more. Then, my throat hurt. I felt like my shoe was stuck in it. I wondered if I would survive this without breaking in half!
“Kristina, why did you ever leave Washington?! What were you thinking leaving your wonderful brother behind?! I screamed at myself silently in my mind. My son saw my tears from the back seat. I hadn’t totally succumbed to a crying feast; I didn’t want my kids to see me so upset, but my eyes had become faucets turned on full blast. Tears ran down my cheeks as I tried to smile and act as if I was fine. My son, Jacob Shawn, said, “Mom, don’t worry, you have us.” This made me tear up even more. “I know, Jacob, and I’m so thankful too,” I replied. I fought back tears the rest of the night. The next day, I asked God to take away my sadness. I asked God to help me with my tears. I felt silly, really I did. I was a grown woman! I’ve been in the military. I’ve had two children! What was wrong with me?! I saw Shawn a few years ago and I didn’t cry like this when he left. “What in the world was wrong with me?” I asked God. God immediately impressed upon me that He loves me the same way – even more – than I love Shawn. I thought that was very nice of God to say. I knew it to be true too. But still, I couldn’t quite figure out what was different this time around. Then, God impressed upon me that love is more precious when a loved one is missing from your life. He explained to me that I am crying more this time because I now realize – to the full extent – the preciousness of the love that I have for my brother.
Now that more years have passed, and Shawn is not a daily part of my life, it’s even that much more precious when I see him because he is a loved one whom I constantly miss. Seeing him brings all my suppressed emotion to the surface and it just bubbles over when we have to part again.
God impressed upon me that He loves all of His children that way! And that because His loved one is “lost” and their name is missing from the Lamb’s book of life, when they are found, He feels such an overwhelming sense of passion, that His eyes brim over with tears too! It’s the same love that allowed God to send His Son to die for our sins so that His loved ones could be found!
I cried harder at this newfound, deeper, passionate, realization of God’s love for me. I cried for lost souls, and I cried tears of joy that I was no longer a lost loved one of God’s family. After I cried, I was more determined than ever to make sure I saw my brother at least once a year, and most of all – a steadfast dedication to seeking and preaching God’s love to the lost was driven like a steel pole through the core of my soul. I would commit myself to finding God’s missing loved ones.
Nothing impure will ever enter into it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
“’My son, the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”
Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
I invite you to read the full novel of my life and the story of my salvation – going from utter darkness to the light of God’s love: Where the Red Cardinals Fly.
Warrior Moms Unite!™
Kristina Seymour loves to encourage and equip women through the Word and through community. She is the author of The Warrior Mom Handbook, The Warrior Mom Leadership Manual, and The Warrior Wife Handbook; they are available at Amazon.com. Kristina's Bible studies are for women who desire to live by faith in the midst of their everyday lives. She has learned that women can't survive on caffeine and animal crackers alone; women in the Word and in community are united and able to stand firm. To learn more about Kristina, please visit her website, https://kristinaseymour.com/. God loves to share His story of love and grace through us all, and Kristina believes that everyone has a story to tell.