Written by: Deaconess Heidi Goehmann Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. Ephesians 4:15-16 We listen to a fair amount of audiobooks in our family. Early on in our four year old’s life we figured out that if we had an audiobook in, then he didn’t find it necessary to scream each and every moment of a car ride. 😉 The last audiobook we finished was called “Touch Blue” and dealt with the topic of change, foster care, and finding your own place in the world. The book was really good, but that isn’t what this blog is about, of course.At one point in the book the dad instructs the main character, who’s struggling with what home is and who she is, that we’re all made up of bits and pieces to make a whole self. We aren’t made up of our time in just one place or of just a single element of ourselves. Our “bits and pieces” are collected together throughout our lives of people we love, experiences we have, and places we’ve been. I wholeheartedly agree with this tiny treasure tucked into the wisdom of a middle reader and between that and the scripture reading yesterday in church, it started to help me resolve something I’ve been struggling with for years. You see, so much of what I do is wave goodbye out the rear view window of my minivan. One of the blessings of college and seminary life is wonderful, beautiful friends scattered all over the country. But never will I have all the people I love in one place. For so long I felt robbed. I left Texas and felt like I left half my heart there. I left Minnesota and left half my heart there. I left Missouri and left half my heart there. I love visiting my friends and family, but it’s always so painful to leave. And then I have to turn around and watch my daughter begin this struggle way to young, crying her eyes out as the van pulls down I-44. But just as the Scripture says, we aren’t just one whole in ourselves. I’m a strong and independent person, so my vision of the body of Christ has always been that neat little picture of all of our whole selves put together into a picture of Christ himself. While this is most certainly true, I think I was missing a deeper layer of the truth. We aren’t just put together as separate people into Christ’s body, we are woven more intricately than that. We are pieced together by Christ, in the womb, certainly but also throughout our life as we grow and love one another, as we reach out and live life together, as we invite others into our tiny worlds-we grow in Christ and discover a little bit more of who we are. This process, although beautiful, like so much in this life, has an element of pain. Christ is constantly knitting. He puts a piece of you in me and me in you, which means I need to lose a little of myself. Christ values us as individuals, but I think he values us as connected individuals, and in fact, we aren’t even ourselves without one abother. So, when I wave out the back window of my minivan and my heart is breaking, I will remember bits and pieces. I will remember that a piece of you is in me, through Christ. I keep you with me, not in a vague sense, but in a very real way. Without you, I am not who Christ intended me to be. In this life, I’ll gather up all kinds of bits and pieces and Christ will knit them together. One day, friend, one day, we will be completely and utterly whole and in one place for eternity. Thank you for being a part of my bits and pieces, friends. This life would not be the same without you.