Saturday, May 21, 2011

Seperation Anxiety

Have you ever experienced separation anxiety? Separation anxiety comes when we no longer see or experience the one that we depend on for love and fear they will never return.

Think of a child going on their first sleepover. Who only an hour after being dropped off calls the father crying to pick her up because she is afraid to stay overnight away from her parents. Maybe, it was the first day of pre-school or kindergarten... remember how difficult it was to be alone for the day. Imagine baby boy crying when mommy just leaves the room. The child must learn that mommy or daddy will return. Although, separation anxiety normally refers to a child between the age of one and two, I think it is something that we all experience from time to time. Maybe you have experienced this yourself when your child went off to school, to college, or moved out on their own. What about the times your husband goes on a business trip? Or you have to leave your spouse or your child alone overnight in the hospital? It’s tough. I think it can also come in the older years. Think of a widow in a nursing home who yearns for her spouse but experiences loneliness. Maybe you even have separation anxiety about your own death and concern for the people you will leave behind.

I have to admit that I'm beginning to experience a little separation anxiety myself. In just a few weeks, I'll be moving from St. Barnabas to my new assignment at St. Joseph in Amherst. And there will be separation from the people of St. Barnabas. Many of you have become close friends and big supports. I see a number of you more than I see my own family. You have become a support to me in many ways and I know that I have for a number of you as well. So when I leave here I suspect I'll feel some separation anxiety. I'm already realizing how much I will miss all of your support, help, and presence. And maybe you are feeling this too with my leaving.

Jesus can calm all of this anxiety… “Do not let your hearts be troubled”

Jesus, before his disciples are even aware of what is going to happen, assures his disciples that they do not need to experience this separation anxiety with him. He calmly assures them… as he does us: "Do not let your hearts be troubled.” And then with great assuredness says: “I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be."

I will take you to myself... Wow, we can take great security in his arms. There is no need to worry about separation because he will take you to himself. Imagine him squeezing you in his arms holding you close... so that where He is you also may be. He wants to take you everywhere with him. There is nothing in this world that you have to do alone because He is with you.

Imagine him picking you up like a child, taking you to himself, pressing you to His chest, and never letting you go.

“Do not let your hearts be troubled.” There is no need for separation anxiety, because there is no separation. Jesus takes you to himself and he is with you always.

Remember the next time you experience this separation anxiety... He takes you to himself, He is with you, and he will never let you go.


  1. I do suffer from separation anxiety. Thank you for the affirmation that Jesus is always with us and stays with us where ever we go. I am going to miss you when you leave here. I will suffer separation anxiety when you go. It changes the family dynamics of our church family. I am not good with change. Still not over Fr. Charlie's exit. God bless you Fr. Michael. You are one of the good guys. Hope to cross paths again.

  2. Father Michael, well said but seperation is only what we perceive it to be, because we sometimes do not trust our Lord. I speak from experience. You will definitely be missed, your smiling face, kind words, and your prescence. Although I will miss you being here I am happy for your priesthood and that will never be separ(ed from us. Thank you for everything.

  3. Fr. Michael! Thank you for posting. Although I'm not really suffering from Separation Anxiety, per say...your blog had pertinent meaning for me Sunday morning when I woke up feeling a little low. Thought of your message again when I was listening to the 5/22 Homily at St. Bridget.
    Just want to say thank you and wish you well in your transition.


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