Left Behind


Last night my mum came to stay.  It was lovely.  But now, I’ve got the Lefties. Not left-handed or left-wing or left-hooked.  Left behind.

A big hole in the universe where she ought to be. And empty – like I’ve been evacuated too.

Going to uni, I was determined to leave home and counted down the days – but when I did, it felt like my chest had been scooped out. Mum and dad, peeling me from the car seat, like a barnacle from a rock.  The car, disappearing from view. And the sheer terror of newness: being where I didn’t know, wasn’t known.

Even though I had left them; feeling like they  had left me.

And not just family.

Friends at the airport.  Don’t Leave.

People I’ve known for only a few days.  Don’t Leave.

First love. Even though it’s not working.  Even though we’re better when we’re separate.

Don’t  Leave.

The early years of marriage. Just a night apart.  Clinging  like a drowning woman. Dissolving, as he walked away.

Filling time with people, so I wasn’t ever left. But pushing them away, because they couldn’t promise to stay. Leaving them first.


These days it’s not so bad.  I’m learning that humans aren’t anchors. And I’m not a cork on the tide. Even if father, mother, husband or friend depart, the LORD receives me (Psalm 27:10). I’m not an orphan, because Christ’s Spirit is with me (John 14:18). And I have a real Anchor for my soul who will never leave (Hebrews  6:19; 13:5).

When loved ones come, they are not ‘filling the void’. When they leave they are not ‘taking my heart’. And in their coming and going I can learn the meaning of faith, hope and love.

While they’re with me I love them  and don’t just demand they prop me up.

When they’re out of my grasp I have faith that God’s grasp will keep them safe.

In the waiting times, I hope in a happy reunion,  looking to God’s provision and not mine.


Sometimes when loved ones leave, we grow in the gaps.



Image by Iain Faulkner : source.

5 thoughts on “Left Behind

  1. Great question Laura. On this, like everything I’m still work in progress. But some things that have helped…

    I think having to face up to being alone turned me to the Lord. It’s very easy to depend on other people when they’re there – but it can stop me taking my feelings to Him. After all, prayer and wrestling with the scary business of life is hard work – it’s easier to have an audible voice and a hug or to distract yourself. But the times when other people haven’t been around have also been some of the times when I’ve turned to God with a new hunger – desperation I guess – and as I’ve done that and searched the Bible, I’ve found a security that I didn’t have. Also, recognising that there are distractions and there are distractions. Some things feed you and some just entertainment. I’m all for the entertainment, but when I’m low I need the equivalent of a coach cheering me on; and that can be in music or listening to grace-filled sermons or podcasts or the Bible read aloud.

    Also, being honest about struggles without letting them dictate my life (again work in progress). So admitting when I’m scared or lonely (and sometimes talking it through with friends), but not trying to order my life so it doesn’t happen – and in fact, seeing it as a time to draw closer to God or hear Him in ways I haven’t done for a while. And in all of it, dumping my brain and my fear onto Him and saying ‘I just can’t do this – please help’.

    Love to know what others think.

  2. Hi Laura – yes, if you send me an email via the contact page, (top right of the blog sidebar), I’ll mail you back.

  3. It seems as if we are in a flip-flop condition of either ourselves considered prior to christology – in which case we face our weakness and hostilities – or else we put christology prior, such that we are defined confidently as ‘en christo’. In the first case i am falling back upon myself in all its awfulness and contradictions, in the second case, are we not emboldened or strengthened?

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