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Long-Distance Loves

Chris in the standing frame outside

Have you ever been in a long-distance relationship? I've been in a couple over the last 30 years or so. Many of our military families are forced to deal with distance if a loved one is deployed. They are never easy to navigate, no matter what the reason. I mean, come on, a virtual hug is nice - but it's not the same thing. Not even close! We found out how valuable applications like Zoom and Skype were during the pandemic, although I'd been using them for years to close those relational gaps. They are invaluable tools for those of us who work (and live) online. As great as these apps are - they'll never be the same as being close in real time and real life. 

Sometimes as caregivers, it can feel like everyone is in a long-distance relationship. I can't fault people for it - they don't always know what to do with us once we become a caregiver. Like we all of a sudden don't want to watch a movie with them or play games anymore. And in their defense, sometimes we just don't have the time. And add to that complexity if your loved one is medically fragile. Others grow tired of rescheduling over and over, or you just not being to show up as planned. As a caregiver, I get tired of it - so I choose not to schedule too many things anymore since I never know what a day will bring. 

All of this can mean those who really do still love us and care about us - do so from a distance. This leads to more feelings of isolation for caregivers. It's a tough road to navigate, don't you think? We can't always just "go make new friends." Lol. But there is a friend...

Proverbs 18:24 tells us that there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. I'm sure Solomon was talking about a physical friendship, but we don't always have that luxury. Jesus called us friends - and He is a friend who sticks around through thick and thin. Can I be honest? (Good, because I am!) God can feel like just another long-distance relationship, too, at times.

We must constantly reel in those thoughts and emotions that want to drag us down that lonely path, don't we? It's hard to do, though, when we look up, and no one has come with us on our caregiving journies. What a great opportunity to trust God and to move in closer to His heart. It's right where He wants us. 

Today, when I feel alone, I will employ some natural strategies like listening to oldies and dancing around like no one's watching (because they're not!). I may try to get lost in a good movie or book. Sipping on tea and pouring out my emotions into my journal is also a great strategy. But most of all, I'll remind myself that God does not hold Himself at a distance because of my circumstances. Actually, He moves in closer to those with a broken heart. (Psalm 34:18) I'll remind myself that He is not afraid of my messy life or crazy emotions. He is here for the long haul and will never abandon me. My thoughts will be on His all-sufficient grace for today. I'll crawl up in His lap and let Him hold me as I trust Him for one more day. Will you join me?


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