One of my faults is not keeping up with long distance relationships. I don’t know if it’s just a part of having moved a lot growing up and not having long term friendships or the fact that I’m an introvert and am fine having a close group of friends with the occasional social gathering, but it’s hard for me to stay in touch.
I used to be fine with this, even as it caused some pangs of sadness as I wondered how people were or wished I still had a connection to a place. Over the years I’ve recognized that this is not how I would like to carry on; and although I value my time alone and need it, I’ve come to realize how much I need time with people and gain an energy from it along with the warmth of being in community.
But it is one thing to know something and another to act on it. Since leaving Bolivia, it has been hard to keep in touch, even though I want to. It’s still sad that we are not there. So quickly the next stage was trying to figure out Argentina and then with the pandemic, it somehow became hard to focus on anything besides what was right in front of me. Time passes.
Good intentions slip through the fingers as time passes quickly and things are put on the “to do tomorrow” list. I strongly believe that usually if your mind goes to someone you should pray for them, but there are many times when I know God has put someone on my mind because I should reach out to them - in a message, with a call, talking with them at church or inviting them over- and it’s so easy to be comfortable or harassed by my day that I put it off for tomorrow and that opportunity is lost. What God saw could or should happen in that moment is lost.
One of the ways I’m battling this tendency is by creating small groups of friends from Bolivia through whatsapp groups. I try to set up a time weekly/twice a month to call the group so we can talk and pray and maybe have a devotional and the chat also allows us to check in when we want. One of the first calls was with Anael and she was saying how her six year old had finally had enough of things being put off and now repeats constantly: “Hoy es mañana” (Today is tomorrow). I listened to this and in my head said, “Yes God, I hear you”. It’s been good and encouraging even though it’s still a struggle to make it happen.
Connection often gets put on the bottom of our to do list, if it makes the list at all. But it’s interesting to stop and think about what we fill our lives with. Often it’s busy work and down time. Often not very many minutes of a day are focused on making or building connections - even with those in our household. It’s amazing how many days can go by, how many weeks can go by, without making an effort to connect with someone outside of our inner circle. Do we know who is struggling, who is celebrating? Do we realize how people would be stronger in their battles, feel a bit safer in their weaknesses, more joyful in their walk, just knowing that someone thought of them that day, that connection was made?
It’s hard to stay in contact, it’s hard to not put off for tomorrow (which hardly ever comes) and find time. It can be hard when relationships are one sided, are full of drama or stress, are only initiated by you... Connection is hard, but it’s what we were created to do and honestly the most valuable thing we can do. It changes others lives- whether we ever see it or not - and it changes us and that we can see.