Ain't No Sunshine When She's Gone

I've been trying for some time tonight to write some sort of tribute post to my wife. She's been out of town for the last two weeks and while it has not been sheer chaos and upheaval around here, her absence has been felt.   

For some reason my words haven't come easily tonight. Partly because I don't want to merely affirm what Stephanie does  that brings her to be missed so much. Yes, her workload and the number of hours she puts in each day being mom is incredible. I haven't paid attention to how much she does quite as much as I should. 

What has always made it difficult when she is gone is that I feel that very real aspect of Genesis 2:18 in that it is not good for a man to be alone. It's not a functional reality in that it's not good to be alone. It's a relational reality. No one relates to me as well as she does. No one understands me as well as Stephanie understands. 

So when she's gone its not just that I don't have someone who can take care of my laundry. It's that my friend and and life-long companion is missing. When she's gone the one person I relate the best to isn't here to relate with. Life is really more dreary when she's gone. When she's gone my closest, most intimate, most dear friend is not around and no other relationship remotely fills that void. 

I think this is something that Americans struggle with. We view relationships directly on a functional level. What does so-and-so do for me? Be it a spouse, children, coworkers, or neighbors we give more to relationships that do more for us. Maybe that's why we're so off balance when it comes to understanding work and family and friendship in our culture. We value most the functional relationships that produce the most benefit to us. 

Yes, I am thankful for all that Steph does in my life and it is felt when she isn't here. But more than anything I am thankful for her presence with me in life as a friend. Even as she lies here sleeping tonight from her jet lag I'm glad to have my best friend just here with me. As Bill Withers would sing; 

Ain't no sunshine when she's gone
It's not warm when she's away
Ain't no sunshine when she's gone
She always gone too long anytime she goes away 
Ain't no sunshine when she's gone
This house just ain't no home
Anytime she goes away

Maybe that's the test of relational value versus functional value; is life fundamentally less enjoyable when person x isn't with us? I always find that to be case when she's away. There ain't no sunshine when she's gone.