The rosy sky this morning tells nothing of the rain that fell in sheets for most of yesterday, but as my boy and I run—we dodge the memory in puddles. He wants to try to run a little farther today, so we turn into the park. There’s a 5k race going on and we find a place near the finish line to watch. He sees some friends and leaves me sitting on the bench, alone. I watch my boy congratulate his friends on a good run and there are people in colorful running shoes walking it out all around me. They’re playing loud music to encourage the runners, but I’m playing last night over and over in my head.
They’re the kind of friends we see at weddings—he was in ours—and the older we get, the fewer weddings there are so we haven’t seen them in years. And when you sit around a table and break bread with old friends, time has this way of winding backwards. We sat out on the deck after dinner, enjoying a break from the rain and cool rinsed through the air. And when the sky started dripping again, I just wound up the patio umbrella and we all leaned in tighter around that table.
I’m watching my son goof with his friends but I’m thinking about time and how much we’ve changed since I first met those smiling faces we welcomed into our home last night. And I wonder what change looks like on a face? Isn’t it more than lines and sunspots? Part of me wishes a heart could be worn on a chain around the neck because I want this world to see how God has grown me with love over these years. This desire tells me that I have so much more growing to do and I tuck it deep inside and whisper to the One who knows me that I’m glad I am seen.
Trusting this—that I am seen—it’s something I couldn’t do back then. It’s something I still struggle through. This morning in my reading Henri Nouwen tells me to “go into the place of your pain”. This place, he says, “is the experience of not receiving what you most need. It is the place of emptiness where you feel sharply the absence of the love you most desire.”
We start our run back home and he can’t make it all the way. So we take it in turns to run and walk and I run up ahead and circle back to him repeatedly. We are out for an hour and a half all together and I can think of worse ways to spend a Saturday morning. I’m proud of him for trying.
But when I run ahead I’m alone with my thoughts and I ask God what it is that I think I most need. What is creating this gaping hole inside of me where love should be? He opens a window into my heart and I part the curtains and what I see fills me with wonder at His wisdom.
I go into the place of my pain.
And I see what I think I need is not what I need at all.
“You have to begin to trust that your experience of emptiness is not the final experience, that beyond it is a place where you are being held in love…”
This place where I am held is a sweet place and as I loop back around to fetch my boy I wonder—why can’t I seem to stay here?
But soon, I am walking side-by-side with my boy and I don’t have to think about love because it lives and breathes between us.
And I’m lost in the joy of this journey.
Sitting with Sandy today. Love to you all. 


  1. says

    Why can’t we, Laura? Why can’t we stay in that place? Seems I wonder this a lot lately, about some of those sweet places — how to move along from it, but still carry it, still be present to it in the midst of everything else.

    Ah, I’ll stop before I ramble too much. Your lovely words have me thinking. 🙂

    Love to you, my friend.

  2. Anonymous says

    There is so much in this posting! Of course, one way to look at it is that the emptiness inside of you is the space where the new growth will occur. And you do mention the desire for new growth as you describe sitting around the patio table with your friends. New growth always carries with it the opportunity for more love to emerge! Additional life experience brings many changes in perspective, and life can become much more vaired and dimensional as we live it day by day.

  3. says

    Trusting this…that I am seen.
    Love that you know this new place in your life. It’s a new place in mine.

    Enter the pain…I have no little boys next to me interrupt my heart.

    Emptynest—a liminal look into that hole in my heart.

    And Grace to live in this draining hourglass knowing I am held and it is okay. Things might change, maybe not. I live for His Bright Glory not my own.

    Love your writing.

  4. says

    Feeling the emotion in your post, in what you aren’t saying too. Perhaps its like looking in a mirror for me, your words here. You just have a way of breaking through the surface and parting the veil to see Him more clearly. Even if you have to loop back around to do it. Love you Laura.

  5. says

    What Lyla said. Except… I think it is the not holding it, the not staying that keeps us ever searching for it. It is the brief – hopefully, ever-lengthening – moments of realized love, of being seen and held – that sustain us over time. We are fallen creatures in a fallen world. But we have enough of God in us, enough of that divine spark to wonder and hunger and search. You do such a good job of looking, Laura. You really do. (And any mama who can run circles around her teenage son is one amazing woman!)

  6. says

    If we could stay in that place, would we appreciate it as much? Would it become so familiar that we’d take it for granted? And that emptiness….does He hollow us out to hold more of Him. This race we’re running, there’s a lot of circling back. Thinking here, too. xoxo

  7. says

    What hope – “it is not the final experience.” I find myself drifting, or running ahead, from God too – why can’t I stay in that happy place? I suppose the pain reminds me of how much I need Him. Lovely post.

  8. says

    You really captured the feeling so many of us struggle with. Love your words. When we try to hold onto those moments too closely they crumble. I love it that you saw love in the space between you and your family and friends. lots of ponder in this post. Think I will go back and reread it once again…

  9. says

    sorry, i didn’t grasp much of what you wrote after this bit, miss laura…

    “reading Henri Nouwen tells me to ‘go into the place of your pain’. This place, he says, ‘is the experience of not receiving what you most need. It is the place of emptiness where you feel sharply the absence of the love you most desire.’ ”



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