I’m at the hospital this morning, waiting for another test, and I’m reviewing the literally hundreds of responses we have received to our news in the last 24 hours. It’s overwhelming, in the best way. It is so good to have the support and love of so many people around the world, to see and feel our village rally around us.
As we face moving again, and going to a new (for me) place, I am encouraged by these reflections on friendship from my nearest and dearest friend:
All week God has been impressing upon me the holiness of friendship. The sacred act of intentional intimate relationship. For me friendship has almost exclusively been long distance. Every new deep friendship I know will eventually become long distance given the nomadic nature of my life since I was born. I want to send out an encouragement born of experience: fall deeply in love with your friends, be extravagant in your love for those people, show up and know that distance and time apart CANNOT break what has such strong foundations.
Long distance friendships do take work, mostly heaps of grace and moments of intentionality. Both are doable and will not sap you of energy, both are life-giving acts. Give grace when there is silence, busyness, life is happening and time goes by quick. Be intentional, with no expectations (give freely!), reach out and love on your friend, share with them, check in from time to time. Lots of grace means the intentionality can be more realistic in quantity!
Long distance friendships bloom in my life as trees with deep roots that I can shelter under when life is rough. And new friendships, even in places I know I’ll only be in for a short while, seem totally worth the effort because I know leaving doesn’t have to mean the investment of self is lost.
This is for the TCKs and the ones in transition, for the ones who are tempted to check out before a hard goodbye comes.
Technology oh so wonderfully allows us to stay in touch, keep each other updated, but it is not why long-distance relationships can thrive.
The foundation of grace and generous love in close, intimate relationships allows for continued relationship even when we are separated. When we come together again, when we use that technology as a tool, it enables us to simply continue to pour out lavish grace on one another.
I began my day yesterday with two of my oldest friends, who I left more than ten years ago, and ended it with my newest and closest friend, who I will most miss when we leave, and my day was bookended and filled with peace and grace, joy and love.
In a bizarre, hard week, we have received an incredible outpouring of support as our friends walk through this difficult time with us. Yesterday, people from 24 countries read our blog post and we are being covered in prayer around the clock by loved ones in every time zone.
Lavish grace. Generous love. These pillars of friendship are the characteristics I want for all of my relationships. I want them to be the defining core of who I am, what it means for someone to encounter me, to interact with me. They are the defining characteristics of God, who pours Himself out for us, in intimate, long-distance relationship. And I look forward to going home one day, to standing before Him face to face and walking with Him to eternity.
Hopefully after a long journey of friendship on this earth with all of you!