One time I agreed to go tubing down a river with a bunch of friends, thinking it would be something akin to whitewater rafting.
We basically just sat in inner-tubes for several hours and took a slow-moving ride down a shallow river. It sounds easy enough, and generally it is, but the hard part is keeping up with all your friends.
The river moves slowly, but it does move. So it doesn’t take long before the current quietly breaks up the initial group into smaller groups. And although those groups might succeed at staying together for an hour or so, inevitably the river scrambles everyone up again, and you’re lucky if you’re able to stick with one person the whole time.
Life is like that. From day to day, it feels like things are moving slowly and predictably – same spouse, same kids, same coworkers, same friends. But if you look around, you realize the current has dragged your child to a different state, a new job has pulled a friend towards a new group of golfing buddies, a stroke has pulled your hairdresser into a nursing home. Like it or not, under your slow, predictable life, things are always moving, churning, changing – slowly pulling you and others in directions you didn’t expect.
Today, I packed up a moving truck and headed to Washington, DC. For two years, I lived about a mile from my brother and his beautiful family. We enjoyed easy access to each other, and we all assumed it would go on that way for years. But then that quiet current suddenly and unexpectedly changed, pulling my family and me up north; and before I knew it, my brother was helping me pack the last of the boxes into the U-haul and saying goodbye.
It hurt to say goodbye to my brother, his family, and our many dear friends in North Carolina. You’d think that 730 days would’ve been enough time to spend riding life’s lazy river together, but it wasn’t. This world never seems to give us enough time with those we love. But as C.S. Lewis said, “If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.” To our dear family and friends who we’re missing tonight, please know that our hearts ache for the day when we will meet you in the world where we never have to leave each other again – because in that world, we will finally be home.