As wonderful as it feels to be in love, most of us have also had the unpleasant experience of being dumped. The first time it happened to me, I was an adult well on her way to professional success, but I felt as though the ground was falling away from beneath my feet. I felt awful: unwanted, unworthy, adrift and alone.
My ex and I still moved in the same social circles, so we saw one another periodically. One time, I must must have looked especially bad because she took me aside and said, “You know you have everything you’re looking for, inside you.”
I thanked her and moved on. Even though I had NO IDEA what she was talking about, she seemed to know something I did not, and she cared enough about me to share it with me. I was still dumped, but I felt better.
Jesus’ prayer: “. . . I in them and you in me . . .”
The disciples had not been dumped, but they were without Jesus, and probably felt unworthy, adrift and alone, fearing that they had also lost not only Jesus, but themselves — the people they had become in Jesus’ company. With him, surely because of him, they had been changed for the better. How would they hold on to that newness of life without him?
When we are missing someone special, we can be paralyzed by the fear that we will also lose ourselves – the person we became when they were with us. But we don’t lose that. We can’t. After all, we are the ones who turned to them in the first place. We are the ones who were irrevocably changed by knowing, following and loving them.
The newness of life which we found in their company and are now loathe to lose comes in large part from what has been inside of us from the beginning, from the first breath of God’s spirit into our being. What we seek was within us then. It is within us still. Jesus’ prayer reminds us of that. It may make us feel a little better.