Skip to main content

Hospitality for the Rest of Us: Long Distance


People are moving more and more. When I was a youngster, it was a rare instance for a friend to move away. Now it's me that moves away. We've moved a lot, especially when we first got married. It was something like five addresses and three states in the first four years of our marriage. We've slowed down a bit. In the midst of all that moving, we've made some friends along the way. I try to keep an open line in case of times of grief and celebration.

One of the best tools I've found for keeping in touch with loved ones far away is Facebook. As much time as I could spend doing other things instead of checking it, it's the best thing I've found. It allows me to communicate with others, without having to call. I know calling is amazing, hearing people's voices, but for introverts, there are no body language clues for us to pick up on that help make our conversations easier. It's also why we prefer to video chat :-) Back to Facebook, some etiquette.

If you read something on the Facebook, use it as a beginning of a conversation, not for jumping in the middle. Ask about the post as opposed pretending like they've come over and told you themselves. This is a personal preference. I find it quite creepy when someone talks to me with authority about something I posted in passing on Facebook. In the same vein, if someone tells me something they've already posted about, I let them tell me.

Unless you are a registered member of a political party and highly involved with politics, keep the rhetoric to yourself instead of posting it. I'm all for you liking things and commenting on political pages, but if you aren't truly passionate about it, posting political memes on your Facebook page is only going to alienate people. The Internet has yet to sway people in their views on politicians. The same goes for religion or any other cause, if you're not committed and actively involved, keep it off your page.

Don't be a lurker. Do you remember when people used to read magazines, clip articles and send them to one another? Facebook makes this so much easier. You read something, share and tag your friend. Super simple. This would also be a good use of those memes I told you to be careful with. Share directly to people you know will enjoy them.

Sometimes people appear to be lurkers, but Facebook messenger is one of the best ways to get ahold of them. There's a couple of ways to find out, the easiest is to message them and see if it works. If you want to be aware and a part of people's lives, you HAVE to communicate. Facebook messenger is a cheap, fun, easy way to do that. There are others: Skype, Google Hangouts, email, texting, mail. Figure theirs out and run with it.

That brings up things beyond Facebook. Like I said before, introverts do call people, some like it, especially if they are good friends. Strangers? Or practical strangers because you haven't seen each other since kindergarten? Forget about it. We need those physical cues to listen to strangers. Introverts internalize things so we study body language naturally. We may not always get it right, but we do study. All that is to encourage you, if you're able, to try video chatting with long distance relationships. We used to do this a lot when Hannah was little. It was wonderful to see family. Much less expensive than getting on a plane every day. The technology has got better, still some glitches on occasion, but a worthwhile endeavor.

Mail! Mail is always appreciated. We love to see our names hand written on an envelope. It might be the best thing ever in this day and age. You don't have to write long letters, simple hellos work perfectly.

To what end? To what end do we connect with people over long distances? To love. And to remind them there are safe harbors in the world. Sometimes you might be that emotional safe harbor, even when you can't be there physically. We don't always need a hug, sometimes we need a non-judgmental ranting board. Sometimes we just need to know that someone is lifting us up to heaven. Sometimes we just need to know that someone would miss us if we were to disappear.

To that end, use ever tool you can think of. Love on people that are connected to you in far away places. Create strong bonds that distance can't erode. It won't always take. Some people don't want to be bonded to you, give them their space. But don't close a door or burn a bridge. Just allow them to be.

It can be quite rewarding to have friends in distant locations. Things can happen within that love that you won't see in your everyday proximity relationships. You'll begin to carry them in your heart. They will become precious in a new way. Your love for them will grow and so will your desire for them to have a place to be real.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Four Cups by Chris Hodges

Four Cups by Chris Hodges is a brief book based on the four cups associated with the Seder Meal. Within the Seder meal, four promises of God are celebrated. Hodges goes through the four promises and challenges the reader to live them out.

Those four promises are:
1. God will free you from oppression.
2.God will free you from slavery.
3. God will redeem you.
4. God claims you and wants to celebrate that.

My favorite was the last promise. I think that it's very rare that we get together with other Christians to celebrate the fact that we belong to God. We have plenty of parties, but often those are to mark events or the passing of time, but not often do we celebrate the fact that we get to hang out with the Holy Spirit.

Each chapter is short enough that it could be read aloud by a group and then followed with a simple prayer. It would make a nice book study for a group. Hodges also recommends using the four cups to help grow your faith community. And by growth, he means people movin…

Lent aka Spring Training

If you've been paying attention, you'll have noticed that there's less and less of me on social media. I started small with changing my password on my Facebook account so that I couldn't check it. And that quickly escalated to a downloading of my account and deletion. Like, never getting it back, it's gone, if you want one, you'll have to start over deletion. And then I just switched my time to checking my Instagram, which used to be in check until Facebook went away. And then lent started and I put all of my Instagram accounts on temporary disable. And they're probably going to stay that way until I get beyond the point of turning to my phone to see if it has anything for me in terms of entertainment and validation. Hopefully, that will be take about 40 days, give or take a few Sundays.

So, I'm hoping to use this lent period to get myself all prepped for what can be in my life. I really want to serve God with all my heart, my soul, my mind, and my body…

When Through Deep Waters by Rachelle Dekker

When Through Deep Waters is Rachelle Dekker's fourth book, the first three a dystopian trilogy. I was excited to see what other stories she had for us. Fortunately, this one does not disappoint.

Alicen has suffered a tragic loss and is trying to find her way through the grief. She lands in the family vacation home of her childhood friend. The idyllic location reminds her of all the hope she had for her life as a child and forces her to deal with many different disappointments in her life including the life and death of her beloved grandmother.

Here's what I love about the book, one, it's an old-school Frank Peretti style spiritual warfare book in that Alicen is an ordinary person that is struggling with spiritual forces. Two, it's a fiction book that made me want to get out my journal and explore some thoughts that bubbled up about myself! Third, God wins in the end and it doesn't look like the normal everyone desires. Fourth, straight up scripture usage that does…