My daughter just returned from China. It was an excruciating 3 weeks. Why? We had no communication. I am beginning to understand what it was like a generation ago when I left home. I had no cell phone. I hadn’t known what other numbers my parent’s could use to reach me. I hadn’t known a mailing address for them to write to me. And there was no Internet. Seriously, it was the dark ages. Communication was harder then.

When I had left home, I pulled a trailer behind my car. My cat was installed in the back seat, although he didn’t stay there. I had my guitar and my music. I headed from Arkansas through Oklahoma and Texas into the sometimes barren landscape of New Mexico. I arrived at a small town named Artesia, known for the oil refinery. Also known for the scorpions and the vinegaroons that eat the scorpions. It was after all a desert metropolis of 14,000 people. I’m not sure how many scorpions.

Once I was there I checked in with my part time job at the school. I unloaded the trailer and my car. I returned the trailer. And I met the love of my life. During the next 7 days I worked hard in the cafeteria and I spent time with HIM! After a whirlwind romance, he left to finish school in Albuquerque and I realized I hadn’t called my parents.

So I called my home phone and said to the first one to answer, “Mom, how do you know when you are in love?” It was a fun and enlightening conversation. Especially when my Dad got on the phone and made statements like, “So, you made it there okay?” “You didn’t have any problems with the trailer?” Oh. Oooops.

Communication. It is important. After getting married and having children I began to understand the need for communication. I started calling my mom and dad more often. I usually called to apologize. My youngest daughter turned out to have a temperament similar to my own. As she grew older, I began to understand the challenges of being my parent.

Today, we have the Internet. I email my children. I also text them and receive tweets from my daughter on my phone. I use my cell phone and since the Columbine HS tragedy I have made sure my children have a cell phone to contact me. As most of us in this century, I sometimes take for granted the awesome ability to have contact and communication with my family and my children.

During the 3 weeks my daughter was in China, I received an email almost daily with some impersonal notes and pictures that may or may not have non-blurry images of my precious child. So I prayed. I reminded others to pray. My small group prayed. But it was really not enough.

So many years ago, my great-greats said goodbye to their friends and family and left on a journey to America. They wrote letters, which might be delivered, if not lost, many months after being written. The only solace they had was in God. The next time they would see each other would be in heaven. It took such courage on both sides to not cling or hold on with both fists.

In this day and age, there is communication between far away places. Internet can connect us. We can use email and things like Facebook. We can start blogs for communication. And we can purchase a phone plan that enables to talk around the world for not that much money. For 3 weeks, it didn’t seem important enough. It’s only 3 weeks.

But it was a long 3 weeks for me. It helped me to understand more what it used to be like without Twitter, texting and emails. What life before Facebook was all about? And why letters were once so precious, to be read again and again.

Communication. How often do you reach out to your loved ones?

Philippians 1:3-6 Every time you cross my mind, I break out in exclamations of thanks to God. Each exclamation is a trigger to prayer. I find myself praying for you with a glad heart. I am so pleased that you have continued on in this with us, believing and proclaiming God’s Message, from the day you heard it right up to the present. There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears.

7-8 It’s not at all fanciful for me to think this way about you. My prayers and hopes have deep roots in reality. You have, after all, stuck with me all the way from the time I was thrown in jail, put on trial, and came out of it in one piece. All along you have experienced with me the most generous help from God. He knows how much I love and miss you these days. Sometimes I think I feel as strongly about you as Christ does!

9-11 So this is my prayer: that your love will flourish and that you will not only love much but well. Learn to love appropriately. You need to use your head and test your feelings so that your love is sincere and intelligent, not sentimental gush. Live a lover’s life, circumspect and exemplary, a life Jesus will be proud of: bountiful in fruits from the soul, making Jesus Christ attractive to all, getting everyone involved in the glory and praise of God.

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