Baggage Claim

It was way past my bedtime as I drove to pick up my husband from the airport, and I was surprised to find nerves gnawing away in the pit of my stomach. My mind was racing as I drove the familiar route, wondering aloud what reuniting would look like after seven months apart.

When we parted ways after a brief visit in August, our time together had left us madly in love. As I waved to him through security, my soul felt bruised with his last kiss.

I had not felt that lovesick since I spent a magical month with him and his family in Maui. It was my first time to experience Hawaii, and I was on cloud nine with epic memories to last a lifetime. Newly engaged, we said goodbye in the LAX airport. He was heading back to Kentucky to finish his sophomore year of university, and I was returning to Texas where I lived with my parents and worked as a voice instructor and a performer. I thought my heart would disintegrate completely while I watched him board his plane.

In August I felt angry that just when the fire of our love had been relit it had to be extinguished. For the sake of surviving the remainder of our months apart, I could not allow myself to feel the depth of my attachment to him. It would render me a sobbing mess. I had three children who needed a strong, steadfast, and capable mama. I couldn’t be seasoning their breakfast with my tears.

As I pulled into the airport parking lot, the conglomeration of diverse feelings overwhelmed me. I asked God for a word to cling to during this period of reuniting and reintegrating, and I instantly heard the word “exultation.” I had lots of questions.

Okay…can you tell me more about that word, like why?

Then, in my spirit, I heard, “Because it is an indulgent kind of joy.” I immediately sensed internal alarms sounding. Indulgence is bad…right?

I began to wonder where my beliefs surrounding the word “indulgent” came from. Were they actually from Scripture or were they from people who ascribed to a sort of religious asceticism in which desire is methodically and intensively crushed?

I recalled the verse in the Proverbs about deferred hope making the heart sick. And then Psalm 126 popped into my mind where the Israelites have received the fruit of their hope and they are like “those who dreamed.”

I wondered, “When your hope is realized and your desire met, what do you do next?” You rejoice, falling to your knees in exultation.

You indulge in lavish celebration. Perhaps you laugh and sing, or maybe you dance and shout. Perhaps you bake all of your favorite treats and invite the entire world over for a magnificent party. To exult is to rejoice in a BIG way.

I was mulling all of this in my spirit as I stood at the foot of the escalator, awaiting the descent of my love into the baggage claim area. When I finally saw him, I threw my arms around his neck, and he swept me off my feet. He spun me around, exclaiming, “You are so beautiful!”

It wasn’t until we came together physically that I fully realized my desire for our relationship. I wept with relief, “He’s finally here, and he gets to stay!” Every tear that had been bottled during this season of separation broke open in a flood of exultation.

I think this is exactly what God will do with our tears when we finally meet face to face. He’s cared enough to collect them; it is worth our time to shed them. Our tears will fall with exultation, as our deepest desire is finally felt and fulfilled.

Kelsi Folsom holds a B.M. in Voice Performance and has traveled all over the world participating in operas, musicals, jazz bands, and choirs. Now a mom to “three under three”, she currently resides inSan Antonio, Texas while her husband attends medical school in Saba, Dutch Caribbean. When she is not putting on her best Cherubino while changing dirty diapers, you can find her perfecting gluten-free recipes, *gasp* reading, enjoying a nap, or trying to make sense of her life over french press. Kelsi writes here.