To Belong

I went to visit Joel today with my dad. Bless my precious mother, she offered to keep all three children. So off Dad and I drove at 5:45 this morning….into the grey of early dawn.  After two years of developing a routine that includes regular visits to the prison, the trip is fairly rote. Long hours of driving are rewarded with precious time together. And today was no exception. But precious time together can also be painful time. And again, this begs the question how can so much emotional pain exist in the same heart with so much abiding joy. To that I have no answer. It is one of God’s mysteries.

Joel shared with tears how hard it is to “not belong”. All the inmates live together, but they are not family. The friendships he has are mostly casual. Sometimes guys he gets close to end up being moved, or get released. He misses the feeling of  family, of being a part of a cohesive unit day in and day out, of contributing meaningfully to the other lives in that unit, of  being loved, accepted, and affirmed in that unit.

As a family, we do all that we can to maintain a cohesive feeling to our family. But the fact is we are not physically living together. We are not sharing in the day to day duties of running a household. We are not functioning in harmony with one another to accomplish a daily routine. The longer Joel is gone, the harder it is for me to remember what it was like to have him in the home. I hate that! I hate adjusting to a “single parent” lifestyle. But at the same time, I know that we have had no choice. And I can reject the inevitable and be angry with what has been forced upon me, or I can grieve its reality while accepting God’s greater purpose.

As we prayed together, I marveled at the deep relationship we share, and found myself giving thank to God for His precious, pursuing hand in the middle of our ravaged world. Even when our conversation is painful and when our hearts break at another “good by”, I leave feeling encouraged. And Joel says he feels the same way. Somehow, being together in our pain, is cathartic. We find a place to belong even in those few hours together, and it rejuvenates us for the weeks of separation.


One Response to "To Belong"

  • I cannot even begin to imagine the pain you face each day, raising three kids on your own, maintaining a relationship with your husband a few supervised hours at a time, healing and grieving and daily doing all that’s necessary to keep a growing family going. Your faith, your love and your honesty are truly inspiring. May God bless you, strengthen you and encourage you as you continue to walk day-by-day, moment-by-moment, hand-in-Hand with Him.

    1 Cindee Snider Re said this (July 29, 2011 at 10:46 pm) Reply

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