Ruminating on Leave-Taking

I feel like I’m falling into a rabbit hole here. Been a while since I tended this blog, but a comment by a reader led me back, which then had me look at what’s been read recently, and suddenly I’m back in my parent’s house, three years ago, around the time of my father’s death. It’s a strange feeling, and one I’m not sure is unwelcome. I like to be reminded that I was aware then: paying attention.

When I did my lay-led sermon in February, I noted that my theology can be summed up in the verb “love.” But these last few days, I’ve been thinking of Forrest Church and his quote “Religion is the human response to being alive and having to die.” I’m coming to terms with “leavings” these days. Maybe it is because my daughter is going college shopping next week (without me … super sad face… but with her dad and sisters). Maybe it is because I’m thinking about my dad. Maybe it is because my mother is writing her memoir and I am reading it by parts. Maybe it is because I just listened to a profoundly sad book of fiction.

Maybe its because this is just what happens. Life is just a series of leave-takings, as it were. The big and small and the neither big-nor-small but significant leaving-takings are a part of our lives on a breathtakingly fast pace, if one were to stop and think of it. I think the mark of a life well-led is not that one leaves people and things, but HOW they leave people and things. One of my posts I reread this morning was “My Parents: My Heroes” and it brought this home to me, through teary-eyes.

Last night, the first night of Spring Break for my kids and they all went to dinner with us (score!), my eldest was fretting about her future in a way that irritated me from my vantage point of 48. She thinks she doesn’t want to be a lawyer after all and without that anchoring her, she is scared. I was a little less than gentle when she kept prodding me “weren’t you scared when you were thinking about going away?” But it was an accusation, not a question, hence my forthright: “you don’t have to have it all planned and you’re probably better suited to not have it all planned then you don’t have to careen out of control when you change your mind. You will figure it out and even if you don’t think so, I have faith in you and that should be enough for this moment.”

Or some such.

She’ll be fine. And she will be anxious. Ain’t that living?

Today we will revisit this; when we aren’t eating dinner at 8:30 at night and I’m not pooped and I’ll be the kind of mom who prepares her better for leavings … and beginnings.


About TinaLBPorter

I write poetry and blog at And I'm thrilled to be writing with you.
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2 Responses to Ruminating on Leave-Taking

  1. julian says:

    “… the mark of a life well-led is not that one leaves people and things, but HOW they leave people and things.”

    Love that line and is very timely as it comes to me.
    The minister of my church announced (on our member’s message board, without letting our board of trustees know before hand) that he would not be accepting the contract offer our board made to him. He tried to be graceful and dignified about it but it was obvious that he was angry and hurt.

    In hearing the board’s side of the story, it turns out it was an oversight… a mistake… a human failing.

    Unfortunately the damage is done and there is no putting the genie back in the bottle.

    An unfortunate miscommunication led to a “HOW” that wasn’t very well done.


    • uuMomma says:

      Hey Jules,

      I’m sorry to hear about this. The scars of such a leave-taking will be deep and heal slowly. Best of luck to you and your congregation.


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