2/24 Who do you miss most? Because of distance or division?
I am an in-person person. A month or so ago I was texting with my friend, Leah, and she apologized for not communicating more with me. I had to snicker to myself by that sentiment because I am the worst at long-distance communication. I told her how much her friendship meant to me and that I thought we were both in-person people. The one or two times a year I'm blessed enough to be across a table from Leah are AS GOOD as a weekly phone call would have been 54 times over the year. As a natural introvert in the middle of a very people-oriented job and an expressive two-and-half year old, I am out of words by about 2 pm. So down time for me is almost NEVER used speaking more words on the phone. I really love you or feel really guilty if you get phone calls from me after lunch time.
Being an in-person person who happens to live a plane ride away from virtually all her favorite people means that I tend to travel a lot. Or, these days, beg people to come to me. The in-person time is just too valuable to me. It has grown increasingly hard and expensive with littles, but you know what? I'm an in-person person. So we go.
The people I miss most because of distance are the same people I would miss if there were ever division between us. My siblings. My 'I-have-literally-known-you-my-whole-life-people.' And you know what? A couple years ago I probably would have answered this question differently. I didn't value the time spent with Luke, Kyle and Katie the way I should have.
When people find out I am one of four kids they often ask if I liked growing up with three siblings. I answer the same way every time. I say that I loved it growing up but I have never loved having Luke, Kyle and Katie in my life more than NOW. There's something about adult sibling relationships that I cannot get enough of. I have noticed that a lot of families fall back into the roles that were established when they were little as they grow to be adults. Somehow, the four of us have become each other's biggest fans. Maybe it was like that as kids (just understated) but God did big things in our family to allow us to be so fiercely in each other's corners.
I miss living in Glen Ellyn, a walk away from Luke and Jess' sweet Wheaton home on Cherry Street. I wish I could be an aunt to Nolan who takes him to the doctor when Jess is working. I wish I could have double date nights with them while a Wheaton College student watches our babies. I wish Jess and I could leave the kids at home and go workout together. I wish I could eat breakfast with Luke at his kitchen table and talk to him about writing. I miss Luke, Jess and Nolan with a rooted sadness. The fact that their new little baby will be born in the glory of a midwest summer and I won't be there is sometimes too much to bear.
I miss meeting Kyle for Chipotle lunches. I miss listening to John Ortberg sermons with him while we drive. I miss the way he makes Ry laugh. I miss his jokes and how hard he squeezes when he hugs. I miss our deep conversations that only happen when you're the two middle kids of four. We get each other somehow because of that. I miss his humor, his creative eye and the humble ways he displays his talents. I wish I could know Madison more than through a couple hugs and conversations a year. I wish I could go to church with them. I wish they could babysit the girls while Austin and I have a date night. I miss these two. With all I am.
I miss Katie. Just period. Over the years there are moments with Katie that have made me forget that I'm the older sister. She is wise. Like crazy wise. She makes me weird and allows the strangest parts of me to surface so we can giggle together uncontrollably. I miss lunches with her and how quickly conversations can turn from haircuts to heart-cuts we're experiencing from the pain of this fallen world. I miss dance parties with her and the ways she loves my girls. I miss watching her read to Ry and miss watching her shush Remi back to sleep in a gentle two-step sway.
Distance is hard when it defines how often you see the people you love. But distance has caused me to place value on my sibling relationships like never before. Distance away from Luke, Kyle, Katie and their people have expanded my heart to treasure the time we DO have with new intention.
So today, think about the ones you miss. Press on through the pain it might immediately bubble up and think about them anyway. If you miss them because of distance, when can you book the next ticket? Don't wait for a wedding or graduation. Make it a Wednesday-Saturday just because trip. If you miss them because of division choose today to humble yourself and look in the mirror. What can you own up to that you haven't yet because it makes you feel foolish? I remember my friend, Shauna, saying once that forgiveness makes you feel like a fool. But on the other side of temporary foolishness is a lasting freedom. So worth it. Who can you choose (yes it is a choice and it is yours) to forgive today so the division becomes smaller and less chronic?
Do the hard, uncomfortable, maybe even expensive work to decrease the distance or the division today. Freedom and massive joy will await you on the other side with opened arms and calming embraces. Share with someone you love or in a comment below how you will make it happen!