Leavings and Longings 

Our lives are filled with leavings and longings. We all experience them at some point in our lives. We leave our jobs. We leave to move to another city. We leave relationships. We leave places we love and leave behind people we love. Sometimes we are asked to leave and sometimes other people leave for various reasons unknown to us.

But, in the leaving, what is left behind is often a longing. We long for the place we used to live. We long for relationships that were lost. We long for answers as to why all this happened. We long for the places and people we had to leave behind to walk a new path. These leavings and longings uproot our lives. It changes things and it changes us.

In Mark 4:35-41, we find the familiar story of Jesus calming the storm. In my own leavings and longings, I found myself meditating on the beginning of this story in verses 35-36a. Jesus says to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” Leaving the crowd behind , they took him along, just as he was in the boat. They went to the other side and Jesus went with them.

I recently experienced my own leaving. Jesus led me to leave behind a place and people I dearly loved. It had become a place, of what I like to call, comfortable chaos. It had become so familiar to me for the past three years, I just settled in and got comfortable there. I knew for awhile I was being led by the Spirit to go to the “other side.” I knew that being comfortable, especially in chaos, was not where God wanted me to be. So eventually, I left the crowd behind and went with Jesus to the other side. Even though I had to leave, my heart still longs for the place where I once was.

I find myself now still in the boat on the shore, not quite ready to get out. I am still grieving and longing, but Jesus is with me offering me hope, peace, and rest. The lessons in the leavings and longings are hard and good all at the same time. I am grateful in my grief for those lessons. Soon I will be ready to get out of the boat and when I do, Jesus is with me and goes before me.

I leave you with this question to ponder. Are you being called to the “other side” by Jesus? He patiently waits for you to be ready and when you are, He will be with you in your leavings and longings and every place in between.

Your fellow sojourner, Jennifer Thomas