“I missed you when you weren’t in China yet.”
Resurrection is on my lips and in my heart and looking back I missed Him when I realize there were years I didn’t know Him. How we miss someone we didn’t even know yet is a beautiful mystery of the heart. There were seasons where He could have been there. Where I could have known Him more. Now that I do, His absence seems more pronounced and more profound. Not so much then, but now in the present looking back. An ache for what could have been.
So I understand when my sweet Grace says those words, as if they just dawned on her and landed gently in her lap for the first time. She is holding them fragile because the absence is felt now that she knows both sides. If ignorance is bliss, then the realization of what was in light of what is can be powerfully overwhelming. She processes it out in an attached string of emotion, said gently to herself but so that I can hear. “I love my Daddy. I love my Mommy. I love my family. Mom…I missed you when you weren’t in China yet.”
I see it in her detailed way of looking at pictures – those before she was a part of us and those now in the present. She adamantly wants to insert herself in those old photos, even though there is a progression of one child, to two, to three and then to her. No matter how many times her siblings exclaim, “See, I wasn’t here yet in this picture! I wasn’t a part of the family yet!” it just doesn’t matter. She wants to be there. There is a progression of pictures that show early elementary pictures of our biological children – not baby pictures but little people all lined up with close ups of those innocent smiles and wide eyed wonder. She wants a picture like that and almost daily we talk about what was before and what is now and how her siblings were then and how she is similar. And although we can’t go back and place her in that photo session, we most certainly can celebrate her place in the progression. There is a new picture – a “big girl” one that will hold it’s place in a similar silver frame in the line of wide eyed smiles. She knows where it goes and where she belongs.
And with Resurrection on my lips and in my heart, I acknowledge the emptiness that existed before I knew Him, even though I blissfully did not grieve it until I did indeed know Him. And I likely grieve it more now because I know Him well. I’m pretty attached at this point. I can look back and see pictures that were not there and truly worship because they are now. Completely new life, taking my place in the progression.
Knowing, really knowing what you were without, makes knowing what you have that much sweeter. Just as Grace is learning her story that does include something empty made whole, my story is oddly the same. With Resurrection on my lips I know that I missed Him when I didn’t know Him. My name is written in His book, like a silver framed picture on display, and the absence to fullness makes it all that much sweeter. I did miss Him….