"So far away...
doesn't anybody stay in one place anymore?
It would be so fine to see your face at my door.
It doesn't help to know,
You're just time away...."
Besides the pure pleasure of seeing James Taylor and Carole King performing together in 1971, this recording of "So Far Away," was the perfect keynote for today. A new friend asked, recently, if I could write a piece about "long distance relationships." Boy oh boy, can I.
One, because I've experienced so many of them...with significant others, my mom, siblings, and even my children...and two, because I have grown to love them.
Some of the most deepening (and telling) times in the development of a lasting relationship, have come during weeks, months, and years when we have not lived in the same place.
Letters, phone calls, long walks by myself where the only conversation I'm having is the one I have with God about my loved one, emails...all of these alternative models of communication have strengthened the "ties that bind"...or they've gently untied the ones that weren't meant to be tied tightly.
Mary Baker Eddy, in her work, Miscellaneous Writings 1883 - 1896, counsels:
"Space is no separator of hearts."
I believe this to be completely accurate. A relationship that is dependent on proximity, may become a relationship that suffers with proximity. A relationship that thrives...no matter the miles between you...is a relationship that can withstand the "too close for comfort" times when unemployment, retirement, or cramped quarters puts two people in constant contact.
Sometimes, a relationship that is best when "touch" is involved, can become a relationship where another's touch is annoying or intrusive. There is nothing wrong with touch...I love touching, hugging, embracing...and being touched, but it is having my hopes, my dreams, my thoughts cherished by a loved one, that reaches into the deepest place in my being, and leaves the most lasting, resonant impression on my life.
I have learned the most about myself as a wife, mother, and friend, during those times when my loved one was on another continent, in another state, or has passed on from this experience.
My devotion to the life and dreams, hopes and ambitions of one dear friend, has been strengthened and edified since her passing. I am in constant, almost daily, relationship with her through my ongoing commitment to what she loved and cherished most in this world.
My loyalty to a cause, a patient, a dream, a project, a child...had never been, even once, impacted by the distance between us. My relationship to the camp that I love is immeasurably stronger than it was when I lived in the same state. My relationship with my dearest of friends is unchanged, by whether she is in the next room, or on a different continent. My love for my husband, children, mother, siblings has only strengthened by those times when we have needed to be in different parts of the world.
The time invested in writing letters, making phone calls, prayerfully supporting their dreams, their hopes, their travels has only galvanized the tenacity of our love for one another. Sometimes it is in those moments of "stepping back" that I have seen things in the other person...gifts of humility, compassion, patience, strength, their ability to nurture others...that were not as clear when I was standing so closely I that could touch their sleeve, or look in their eyes.
In reality, we all really, only dwell "in the secret place of the most High." We dwell in the consciousness of Love, in the silent place of prayer, we dwell in the place where thought is persistently and assertively defining our experience. If you think about it spacially, we are "away" from everyone all the time...and yet, in that "house of the Lord," in that spiritualMind-home of consciousness...we are never any farther away from eachother, than the thoughts we embrace about one another.
One of my favorite hymns, from the Christian Science Hymnal, starts with this line:
"Pilgrim on earth, home and heaven are within thee..."
There is something about this lyric, that gives me peace when thinking about my loved ones...far and near. According to Webster, a "pilgrim" is "a person who journeys to a sacred place." Every relationship is a sacred place, a home for the affections, and the only place where we unite with one another...in reality...is within.
Finding you there...
Kate Robertson, CS