The other day while walking the pup at the local park, I ran into Robbie. He adores Ayrabelle and immediately ran up to us. We first met Robbie last spring when he, his mom, and brother spotted us at the park. They had recently moved from the East Coast and love dogs.

But on Monday, I could tell something was just off with Robbie. He’s normally a gregarious teen and instantly hamming it up with Ayrabelle. She stands up and hugs on Robbie’s shoulders—it’s their little bonding time. But the other day at the park, Robbie seemed distracted. Then he blurted out the news.

“We’re moving,” Robbie stated, almost like a somber Secret Service officer.

“Wow! Really. Where?” I asked, surprised by his abrupt announcement.

“Virginia,” Robbie replied, leaning down to quickly scratch Ayrabelle’s ears. “We have family there. We’re moving in March.”

Moving in the middle of the school year? That’s seems odd, I thought to myself, not quite sure what to say next. Robbie beat me to a response.

Looking left, then off to the right, Robbie glanced at me a second at me before diverting his eyes again. “Yeah, Mom got a divorce.”

Thud. Robbie’s blue eyes started to glisten. He shuffled the brown Big Lots! bag stuffed with cat food and toilet paper to his other arm. Then he roughhoused with the pup.

“Ohhh…uh. I’m sorry to hear that, Robbie, I truly am.” I reassured him. “Man, we sure will miss you guys.” Fortunately, Ayrabelle took over our conversation with her playful antics and lightened the moment. We chatted of running into each other again a number of times before March and Ayrabelle gave Robbie quick kisses on his cheek.

Even now I get teary just writing about Robbie. Sigh. I will miss this young man who lives just a block and a half away. You know, Robbie’s situation reminds me that “we all have stuff.” We all face things that can bend our heart in sadness. Divorce. Illness. Job loss. Goodbyes.

On the other hand, we all experience highs that bend our heart toward joy. Sometimes we shift through ups and downs in just seconds. Sometimes our eyes glisten and we just don’t have words. And. It’s. Okay. That’s when we need a fellow sojourner to just pause…listen…and let the stuff settle where it may.