“You can kiss your family and friends good-bye and put miles between you, but at the same time you carry them with you in your heart, your mind, your stomach, because you do not just live in a world but a world lives in you.”
by Frederick Buechner, in Telling the Truth: The Gospel as Tragedy, Comedy, and Fairy Tale
When I first read this quotation, it became so clear to me that life really is all about relationships. Of course, I already knew that in my head, but I guess I just hadn't thought about it in quite this way before. And it reflected to my heart how I have been blessed with friends and family who truly are part of who I am. You know, the kind of friends who have been your friends almost your whole, entire life. And even if you live in a different town or state, or even a different country, they will just always be your friend. Forever friends!
I have a few very close friends who have been there with me through so many of the wonderful experiences of my life, and they walked with me through the dark places, too. No matter where we are or what we are doing in life, we can simply pick up a phone and suddenly we are reconnected in the same way as we always were before, even if it has been many months between conversations. And so we continue to carry each other in our hearts and minds, even if we are not able to actually hold each other in a hug! But what has been a blessing and a gift to me recently, has been to discover new friends who have the potential of becoming just as much a part of my life as the old friends.
Just last week, Loni and I discovered that we have connections through our families that go back many years! We know lots of the same people, from the same church, and the same college. And so, we had a great time chatting away on the phone one evening, kind of connecting all the dots and realizing how much we really do have in common, beyond our online community connection. That was so much fun!
And, of course, we ALL have crazy family stuff! You know, this one is mad at that one, or someone has decided not to speak to someone else . . . . it would be nice if our families were perfect, but they aren't. That's just life! So I try to focus on the blessings that I have and not worry so much about the situations that aren't perfect. Because, no matter what happens, I truly do "carry" them all in my heart, all the time. And that is the world that lives in me . . . . no matter the miles or the years, they are my own treasure of memories and never-ending connection. That is a microcosm of the world in which the gospel is the compelling and ultimate foundation for relationships. Not only is He in us, but we are in Him. That is the safest place to be, in our earthly relationships and in our relationship to our Savior.
The gospel is so much more than my own personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ. That is just the beginning! And we all experience the realities of life . . . . . the tragedy, the comedy, and the fairy tale. Because we are human, and that is just the way life is. In the midst of the heartache, in the midst of the silly, everyday stuff, and in the fairy tale moments of joy - He is here, in my heart, mind, and life. And I am blessed with the knowledge that I am in Him. What a gift!