Loving Up Close from Far Away

My youngest said this title was very confusing and I can see where she is coming from. I find it confusing too. But I have been receiving some very up close loving from far away. In just a couple of days I will be having some up close loving very up close. I am going home to visit my mom and dad.

Included in this quick trip home will be a little bit of one brother – his daughter is coming to visit. In the same sense I visited with my youngest brother last year at my daughter’s wedding, I will get to visit with my middle brother. My youngest brother’s two daughters came and helped immensely with last minute “uhs” during the wedding. And I felt the love and presence of my brother and his wife. This year I will get to hang out with my middle brother’s youngest daughter. I will be able to renew our slim acquaintance and feel some of my brother and his wife in her.

This excitement will only be enhanced by actually seeing and hugging my youngest brother. Yes, he is coming to visit and will hopefully fix my wireless problem on my laptop. I will shamelessly ask him to look at it. But I will also get to see his pictures on his phone and laptop. I will see him talk and listen to mom and dad. I will remember.

And I will get to spend time with my mommy and daddy. It is amazing how old I can be and how adult I can be but I still want my mommy and daddy. I suppose that is a common thing.

My family spends a great deal of time online, sending email and Facebook. We like to keep track of each other and share life with each other. When I was going through my work failure and then my layoff I received encouragement from each brother. I receive daily emails from mom and dad. I hear their encouragement and love. They send me scriptures or they tell me something of their day. I felt love from them even though they are far away.

I try to spend time with my husband’s parents too. I realized that they don’t have other children to spend time with them. It is just my husband and I. We need to check in on them and share our lives with them. I set up an email for them so I can send them emails and pictures. I also try to call them a couple of times a week or at least once a week.

Just a generation ago, when I was a teenager, my dad went to Vietnam a few times. My mom couldn’t even read his letters the first time aloud. She cried all the way through them. I remember we would take turns reading the letters from dad. Then mom would take the letters. I’m sure she read them again. It was a very hard time for her. She didn’t have email or Facebook. She didn’t have even that many phone calls. They cost too much. All she had were the letters.

When my husband went to Korea on business several years ago we were some better. We had the phone call, even though they cost $50 each. We didn’t use that much. We had email but it wasn’t much better or very reliable. And we had the occasional fax, although that didn’t work very well either. It was a difficult time for us and I began to understand what my mom went through just a little.

Being far apart from the people I love and who love me is difficult. In this day and age it seems less difficult because I can communicate using text, twitter, email, Facebook almost constantly, not that I tweet. This makes me feel like I am toddling along with my loved ones. Or at least how they want me to see them and how I want them to see me.

But sometimes it is easier to get to know people when I write to them about everything. It is easier for me to write about my hopes and dreams. I write about my failures and my hurts. I write about how I want my life to go and where it is now. I write that I love them and that I pray for them. And then I think about them and feel love for them.

I was thinking this morning that praying is kind of like what I imagine tweeting is like. Except that it is not. Tweeting would be editorializing my life. God is here with me in person. He watches as I narrate my life but he knows what I am thinking. He knows what is really happening. And he knows how I feel about it.

God loves me up close. He is here. He is here when everything happens to me. He is there at moments of exuberance, the engagement, the wedding, the great performance, the birth, the perfect sunrise. He is there at the moments of deep despair and pain. He is there when I am dulled by depression. He is there when I turn to him for help. He is there when I ignore him.

Sometimes I think God is far away. I even pray like he is nowhere near me and he doesn’t know what is going on. I try to soften my sins and bring up all I did right. He loves me up close even when I am far away.

Psalm 142:6-8 Hurry with your answer, God! I’m nearly at the end of my rope. Don’t turn away; don’t ignore me! That would be certain death. If you wake me each morning with the sound of your loving voice, I’ll go to sleep each night trusting in you.

Point out the road I must travel; I’m all ears, all eyes before you. Save me from my enemies, God— you’re my only hope! Teach me how to live to please you, because you’re my God. Lead me by your blessed Spirit into cleared and level pastureland.

Matthew 6:6-8 “The world is full of so-called prayer warriors who are prayer-ignorant. They’re full of formulas and programs and advice, peddling techniques for getting what you want from God. Don’t fall for that nonsense. This is your Father you are dealing with, and he knows better than you what you need.

With a God like this loving you, you can pray very simply. Like this: Our Father in heaven, Reveal who you are. Set the world right; Do what’s best— as above, so below. Keep us alive with three square meals. Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others. Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil. You’re in charge! You can do anything you want! You’re ablaze in beauty! Yes. Yes. Yes.

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