“Oh, that’s just too sad!”
The little cartoon on our daily calendar had found a response in my heart, although I’m quite sure my reaction wasn’t the one intended by the artist.
To be honest, the 2002 “Far Side” desk calendar had been a little disappointing. In keeping with the fact that it was the very last one ever, they’d compiled a collection of Gary Larson’s cartoons which included anything relevant to the theme of “things coming to an end”.
At first we didn’t see it, but after about two weeks we recognised the on-going, slightly depressing, connection. Overall there was enough humour to make the daily page worth reading, but occasionally one just cut a little too deep for comfort, as was the case that morning.
The disturbing cartoon was of an Astronaut standing alone on the moon as a rocket ship faded into the distance. In his hand was a note which simply said, “Dear Henry, where were you? We waited, and waited, but then decided….”
I winced at the thought of being left behind in that way and once again murmured, “Just too sad!”
Kylie looked up from her breakfast and realising what had caught my attention, added her own comment. “I know! That’s one of my worst fears!”
Nodding with understanding, I turned toward my daughter and lovingly asked, “What? Being abandoned?”
“No,” she responded with complete seriousness. “Being lost in space!”
With a delicate shudder she placed her empty bowl in the sink and then headed off to get ready for school.
Once again my darling daughter had managed to bring a smile to my face. If that was actually one of her “worst fears”, then she could rest easy knowing that it was extremely unlikely to ever happen. In fact, there’s far more chance of her being hit by a stampede of elephants in the kitchen, than of ever being left to cool her heels on the moon!
The possibility of being lost in space is really a non-fear; however, the possibility of being abandoned is another thing altogether. For many people this is a very deeply rooted anxiety, which has the power to strike at the in-built human need for security and stability. &nsp;Worst of all, at one time or another it’s probably happened to all of us.
Abandonment can happen in a multitude of ways and for a multitude of reasons. From the very insignificant to the ultimate broken commitment, it all comes down to the fact that someone has weighed the value of another person’s life and decided it meant nothing to them. Or at least that’s how we’re most likely to rationalise the experience when it happens to us.
Although some may have felt the pain of rejection much earlier, a very large number of us had our first taste of being abandoned while in the playground, when someone uttered those immortal words:
The cutting lack of sensitivity that children show to one another leaves behind scars that are often carried with us into adulthood. Logic tells us that it shouldn’t matter and yet the heart knows that it does; particularly when the relationship is a very close one.
We were created for community and even though some of us may need less social interaction than others, almost everyone has a desire for some type of commitment within our relationships. The closer the connection, the deeper the need.
Yet, the world that we live in today often acts as though commitment were a dirty word. While not actually embracing the concept of “abandonment” as being the norm, it has largely watered down the value of staying committed to another person. You don’t have to look much beyond the current trend of having pre-nuptial agreements to recognise that saying “til death do us part” is no guarantee of a life long promise.
That’s the way the world has turned, however, as Christians we have to remember that we weren’t just created for community with one another. We were, first and foremost, created for community with our God, whose promise to Joshua is just as relevant to us, as His children, today:
No matter what our circumstances and no matter what may come our way on this journey through life, we can have perfect confidence and heartfelt peace that our Lord will never leave us behind. When we truly get a revelation of what this means, then our deepest need for relationship and commitment will be met.
This doesn’t mean that we won’t ever again know the pain of human rejection. We were also created as emotional beings and to avoid this hurt would mean isolating ourselves from people for the rest of our days! Not exactly the life we were called to when Christ gave the great commission to “go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.” (Mark 16:15 NIV)
However, when we’re able to gain our identity, security and confidence from within our relationship with the Lord, then the barbs of man won’t be able to leave a mortal wound in our soul. They may hurt for a time, but because of Christ, they won’t have the power to destroy us.
When the Apollo 11 team were making their return trip from the first moon landing, Astronaut “Buzz” Aldrin was moved to quote a verse from Psalm 8:
What indeed? Yet the wonder is that God Almighty does care for each of His children, so that even if we were ever to be lost in space, we would still never be alone.
Send Debbie an E-mail
Copyright © 2001-2003 Debbie Porter - Breath of Fresh Air. All rights reserved.