In a social media world, much of our lives have become like text messages and twitters. Our communications are shortened, our time together in face-to-face encounters is brief. This has been the case for awhile now. Letters and long Sunday visits have gone the way of the buggy whip for too many of us.
When I was a child, I lived in Minnesota. My grandparents lived in Minnesota, and so did my aunts, uncles, and beloved cousins. For awhile, most of us lived in Minneapolis. As a result, Sunday afternoons and early evenings were spent at grandparents’ houses. Cousins galore were there, and we spent glorious time together, and dinner involved lively conversations with cousins, grandparents, aunts, and uncles. We were entwined in each others’ lives. But job changes for parents took us to far flung places. No longer did we have that sense of intimacy and immediacy.
The same can be said about me and my friends. We moved regularly, so my friendships were in a state of flux. We were entwined and then torn apart. For a time, we exchanged letters. But long distance phone calls were expensive at the time, there were no cell phones, and emails and Facebook were not in existence. So, we would lose touch. If we found ourselves in the same town, sometimes we would try to get together, if we could still find each other.
As an adult, I have continued to relocate at times, due to my husband’s job changes. But I have been better about staying in touch with the friends I have made over the years. I came to realize how precious close friendships are. I began to consciously reconnect with beloved cousins and friends as well. Perhaps my realization of how precious life truly is began with the brevity of my daughter’s life. We had her for a brief 10 months. I knew throughout her life that each of her moments was precious. I realized how precious loved ones are.
My friends and relatives became even more precious to me as well. I have never looked back since then. I cherish the times I do get to spend with loved ones. This is the case whether it is face-to-face, via electronic interchange, phone calls, or letters. The times, though, are always so brief! Why is that?
I think I have an analogy that helps me understand. You see, having the chance to reconnect is like walking into a beloved library. Each person is a book on the shelves. You pull the book off the shelf and sit down to become reabsorbed in it; to find out how their lives are going, what new adventures and experiences have become part of their stories. But you see, just as you are getting absorbed in their story—the book flies back out of your hand and back onto the shelf. the time is already up! You have to leave the library because the rest of your life is calling. Or perhaps, you are at a reunion, and the whole roomful of friends/books is there—and you desperately want to catch up on each person’s lives! So many stories to hear and treasure.
Oh to have endless time with each and every person! That of course, would be absolutely lovely! However, to even have the miracle of ANY time to connect makes those times precious. How lucky we are when we have the chance to visit (in person or otherwise) with the ones who knew our hearts before (and loved us) and want to know our hearts now.
I am reflecting on how GOOD it felt to reconnect with relatives and friends a mere week ago. I say Thank you, God ~ for the metaphorical library of loved ones that is forever in a corner of my heart. Forever.