I’ve been far away for a long time. I used to think of Distance as being the space from here to home. But then “home” changed. It became separate places, so far from one another that my finite body could never be fully home. I was always absent from somewhere.
Even when I was with my family in Amarillo, I was far from Chris’ family in Philadelphia and Connecticut. I was far from our community of friends in Syracuse and Pennsylvania. And now, I’m far from the people we love in San Francisco.
Distance can really make me ache. Lately, I’ve been driving the long highways from play date or preschool to home and I feel an overwhelming urge to undo this move. My heart says: Just end it! Go back! Don’t make this place your home. It hurts to live here.
Then, my mind reminds the rest of me that there’s nowhere else to go. This is where our house is, this is where our work is: this is our new home.
I’m pretty good at adjusting, at finding a place to belong, a purpose. I’m good at being busy. Wednesday night we threw a dinner party. Last night 15 UT freshmen girls spent the night on our living room floor! But, all of these relationships are new and I can’t help longing for something old.
Wednesday as I drove home after lunch with new friends, the two boys in my back seat, begging August not to fall asleep in the car, I felt the weight of this Distance. That feeling, though, was immediately followed by a thought of the East coast friends we saw this past weekend. The grateful replaced the ache.
I thought about how much I love those friends, how comfortable we are with each other, how much I still feel like they’re among our dearest, how long it’s been since we lived our lives together, and how, somehow, I’m at peace with that.
I think I’m making peace with Distance. See for a long time Distance has been a monster who steals people from me, who tempts me with promises of phone calls and emails but who really knows what life is like. It’s hard to stay in touch.
Distance has seemed to me like one of Death’s little babies. Sneaky and delicate and attached to the monster whose job is to eventually take every one away. Distance says: “Hey! There are always airplanes and Facebook and Christmas cards.” But, really, it’s sneaking through my loves, erasing faces from my mind, erasing friends’ names from my boy’s memory.
But this weekend, I sat with Barb, Casey, Maarten and Andrea and laughed. We ate breakfast together, rolled our eyes at each other’s sarcasm, and knew exactly how to react to Chris and Casey when the Phillies lost in the playoffs. The great thing about being an adult is that three years doesn’t change that much of us. We still get each other…all those years of formative friendship don’t get thrown out, even when phone calls are hard to come by.
I wish for a day when I sit with all the people I love in one place and eat dinner and drink wine and laugh and dance to music and tell big, beautiful stories and lean back in our chairs and feel the breeze and the warm night. And do you know why I long for that? Why every soul longs for that? Because it’s coming. The sweet banquet God is preparing is coming for us, when God will make everything sad come untrue, every distance will be undone, every death will be made life, every broken promise will be fixed into truth. And I will listen to my friends laugh and I will never cry for them again.
Until then, Distance, I forgive you.