My brother and sister-in-law moved to Colorado last weekend. It takes a few days for the reality to set in that all the things that have seemed so commonplace for many years--like eating meals together, learning the same things at church, growing cousins up together--are no longer a part of my weekly routine. Perhaps Judah's taking it the hardest, as he looks for his sidekick Calla, whom he lovingly refers to as "Ya-Ya," around every corner. They were born three days apart, and have recently been caught deep in conversation with one another in toddler-ese. With the myriad of ways to keep in touch nowadays, they will no doubt see and hear much of each other. Nevertheless, I'm old-fashioned, and find nothing comparable to a good visit over tea and cookies. It is not that distance is cumbersome or inconvenient in today's world--it's merely that quality of relationship is more difficult to achieve--that genuine intimacy is deliberate and quantitative in time, two elements unnecessary in the technological world of social networking and communication. You can unintentionally be in touch with everyone you knew in high school with just a click of a button these days, or you can cyber-stalk someone undetected through social profiles and blogs. But when it comes to really knowing someone, information will never stand in for actually living a life with someone. So, for now, with miles between us, we will have to learn the art of not just "keeping in touch," but sharing life at a distance--making this goodbye a good one. I had beaded a necklace for myself, from which I saved a set of stones to make a strand for my sister-in-law, Abby. Mine is chunky like me, and her's is simple and sweet like her...but they are made of the same materials....a parting gift, if you will, to remind us we're close when we're apart.
What do you do to make your long distance relationships with family and friends more meaningful and genuine?