Mizpah


A friend of mine posted the following item on his FB page this morning.

“Thank you God for the opportunity to spend time with family. As always, it is tough to leave but keep them in our hearts while we are away and be with us as we continue our journey through life. I love all of you and am eternally grateful to have the honor to be poppapete in your lives. AMEN”

I replied “Mizpah Genesis 31:49”.

It seemed an appropriate reminder to him of the prayer asking God to watch over us while we are absent from one another.

It originally referred to the story of Laban and Jacob. They made a covenant with each other that neither of them would cross the place where they had set up  a heap of stones and a pillar.

“This heap is a witness, and this pillar is a witness, that I will not go past this heap to your side to harm you and that you will not go past this heap and pillar to my side to harm me.”

Over the years it came to symbolize an emotional bond between two people who want God to watch over each other while they have to be apart.

I’ve been thinking about forty-three years ago when I bought a coin and necklace like the picture above to share with my friend who was leaving for Viet Nam. He was no longer my fiance. That engagement was broken before I went out to Washington, D.C. to spend time with him before he shipped out. He had broken the engagement with me saying he didn’t want to leave me a war widow in the event he never came back. He claimed he couldn’t say he didn’t still love me.

Before he left I gave him half the coin to wear with his dog tags. I wanted him to come back to me.

I didn’t see him again until he returned from serving his time in the Marines and finally came home from Nam . He came by himself to the wedding of friends of ours. I set up his best friend with my best friend. I had asked someone else to go to the wedding with me but he backed out at the last minute leaving me to go by myself as well.

After the service I asked him if he would give me a ride to the reception. Before we went inside I gave him some of the things he had given me, including the other half of the coin. It was obvious by that time that we were not going to get together.

I’ll skip the part about the reception and the ice cream social at the church we both were members of. Needless to say there were some very uncomfortable moments since my best friend had fixed him up with one of her bridesmaids who kept him company all the time he was home on leave. He sat at the bride’s table with her. My “friend”, the bride, paid no attention at all to me.

He left again and a month or so later I received a letter from him apologizing for the way he behaved.He asked me to forgive him.  I had been told he was gone or I wouldn’t have gone to the social only to watch him with the other girl. It was not a pretty sight.

I wrote back to him since I was still not ready to give up and told him all was forgiven. Then I talked with him, thinking I would fly to see him, and found out in the meantime he had met someone else. They had a very brief relationship before he married her.

Turns out his wife and I became friends. For one year we lived within easy driving distance from each other. She had a baby and seven months later I had my son. The friendship was not to last long since my ex was transferred again to my current home.

About three years later I was in Chicago with my son. I was still in contact with her. She invited us to visit. We spent the day at the museum and then spent the night at her house with her, her husband, and her two sons. Her husband was supposed to come home to take us all out to dinner. He was late. When he did come home, he was drunk. We both drank while we dated. He seemed to have stepped it up somewhat. He drove but I was very uncomfortable with the situation.

The next morning he went to work. His wife and I were sitting at the table and she suddenly asked me what Mizpah meant. I was taken aback. I asked her why. She said that her husband had the coin in his drawer. He had never gotten rid of it.

They drove me to our home town where my son and I continued our visit with other relatives. I was out at the car while her husband unloaded our suitcases. Before we left, he hugged me good bye.

That was the last time in thirty years that I saw him. His boys grew up and stayed in Illinois. He and his wife moved out to California. Once in a while I make a game out of trying to find old friends through the internet. I finally found him on Linked-In. He has done exceedingly well for himself. He is still listed with his wife. I have no intention of re-establishing any contact. I’d hate to be thought of as a stalker even though his wife and I became very close that year we spent in the same area.

I don’t know how their married life has been. They are still together so I guess things are good enough between the two of them. When I found out about the coin, he had been married for seven years or more. I often wonder if he ever tossed the coin or if it is still in his drawer. I never did toss out the college pin he gave me on Valentine’s Day or the earrings he gave me for my birthday. I just can’t let myself do it. I sometimes wonder if he ever feels the same way. I wonder if God is still watching over us while we are absent one from another. Namaste Attic Annie

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