Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. —Matthew 10:37-39
My family has recently experienced incredible change…
First, our parish said goodbye to our long time pastor who moved into another diocesan role. Our new pastor seems like an outstanding, holy, priest… but saying farewell to people you love is always hard.
Next, members of our family are moving, or have moved, to other states (Georgia and California) meaning we won’t see them all that often… at least compared to seeing them every week like we’re used to.
Finally, as if all that wasn’t enough, some very dear friends of ours recently announced they’re also moving out of state! And when I say dear friends I mean I’m a close friend with the husband/father, my wife is a dear friend to the wife/mother, and my kids are close friends with their kids.
So, in the course of a few weeks we’ve been hit with change, change, and more change. Not fun. Not easy.
But, as with anything, if we look deeper there may be light at the end of the tunnel. In fact, one could argue God is allowing us all to practice what I’ll refer to as holy detachment.
Now, when we speak of detachment we’re often talking about the need to break away from the “the things of this world.” In other words, in order to grow closer to Christ, we should detach ourselves from materialism, from our sports addiction, and even our attachments to bad, unhealthy, food.
But, as it turns out, we may also be called to detach ourselves from friends and loved ones over the course of our lives. In fact, it’s almost a certainty.
You see it’s very easy to grow attached, even dependent, on the people in our lives. And when this is the case our identities seem to be rooted in these relationships. Put another way, these people and relationship are what a normal life seems to be made of.
Sadly, this is totally wrong since our identities should be rooted in God and God alone. And any human relationship (including our relationship with our spouse and children) actually serves one primary purpose – to help one another get to heaven.
Put another way, holy detachment enables us to rightly see other people as our brother and sister in Christ and as fellow pilgrims making our way to the eternal wedding feast.
So, yes, it’s always going to be hard saying farewell to family and friends when they move. And it’s, obviously, infinitely harder to say farewell when the people we love die.
But, we must never forget that God has a plan for each and every one of us. He has a reason for everything He does. And it’s not my job, or your job, to understand the plan. We simply need to do our very best to cooperate with it.
Finally, the irony of this blog article is that my wife first explained the concept of holy detachment to me a few days ago. She learned it from her same dear friend that’s moving. This is just one more example of how lovely, and powerful, true friendships in Christ can be.
Until next time… be holy, eat clean, and do more push-ups!