- we cry and pray together… and don’t deny that it hurts, sometimes so badly that it is physical.
- we hug, hard and fierce, when we have the opportunity; we don’t shy away from holding hands.
- we make sure we try and protect special moments with the nearest and dearest… i.e. we don’t invite anyone other than family to the airport to see us off because that is important to our family – that they don’t have to share us in that moment.
- as they get older, we talk about holding our friends and family close to our heart, but with an open hand so that if God takes our lives on different courses (which inevitably happens) we can celebrate through our tears because being right where God wants is the very best place.
- we try not to saddle our family and friends with expectations - i.e. expecting an email each week… learning instead to accept each treasured moment of time, each gift of communication thankfully, when it is offered... whether from near or from afar.
- we actively engage in the work it takes to keep up with relationships when we are far away from the ones we love, modeling many different ways to continue investing in relationships – and it looks different for different people (skype, facebook, blogs, emails, snail mails, packages, prayers, phone calls, chatting, texting…). We try and adapt to meet the needs of those we are seeking to communicate with.
- we pray regularly for the people we love and miss.
- we talk about and remember special times and special people – and validate the depth of emotions that sometimes surfaces with the memories.
I love the example of Paul (from 2 Tim 1): “I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers in a pure conscience, how unceasing is my remembrance of thee in my supplications, night and day longing to see thee, remembering thy tears, that I may be filled with joy; having been reminded of the unfeigned faith that is in thee; which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and, I am persuaded, in thee also. For which cause I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee through the laying on of my hands. For God gave us not a spirit of fearfulness; but of power and love and discipline. Be not ashamed therefore of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but suffer hardship with the gospel according to the power of God; who saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before times eternal…”