Too Far Away

girl in windowOur first home as newlyweds was a full day’s drive from my parents’ house and even farther from that of my in-laws. Each of my husband’s promotions only increased the distance. It didn’t seem like a big deal at first.

With the birth of our daughter, however, I began to grieve the almost daily milestones my parents were missing. I hadn’t realized how important that was going to be, or how painful. By the time our son came along, I had resigned myself to the limitations of distance. But it didn’t make it easier.

We fought the battle of geography with telephones—whooping over each baby’s first solid night’s sleep, announcing each new tooth, crowing over first steps, and cajoling babies into repeating their budding vocabularies into faceless receivers. We captured grins and endearing gestures in snapshots, which (no matter how quickly we processed the film and got them mailed) were hopelessly out of date by the time they arrived. When possible, we closed the space with long-distance travel. Still, I fretted that my children wouldn’t develop strong relationships with their grandparents.

I needn’t have worried. God made it happen anyhow. My children established closer bonds with them than I dreamed possible.

History Repeats

Today, our children are married and they, too, live far way from both parents and in-laws. With the delightful appearance of our first grandchild and the promise of two more packages of joy coming this year, I still have my sad moments. There won’t be cross-town missions to babysit or frequent family gatherings. I won’t often thrill to the music of “Grandma! Grandma!” echoing through my halls.

The old worry has reappeared—what kind of relationship will they have with me? I dream of smelling baby powder and feeling baby cheeks. I ache for grandchild squeals in my ears and the weight of leaping toddlers in my arms.

Jesus warns us not to worry about tomorrow, “for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble” (Matthew 6:34, NKJV). True enough. As hard as today’s problems may be, adding the weight of worrying over what might be is simply a waste of emotional energy. If my premature worry won’t make one hair white or black, if it can’t add one cubit to my height, how will it make distant parts of the country closer?

How shall I fight the battle of geography? The same way I did before–with a good dose of God’s grace to supply patience and endurance for the journey. By using all the tools at my disposal. Snail mail, phones, and long distance travel are still available. But now I have email, Facebook, instant messaging and (the penultimate weapon of my warfare) video calling!

God will find a way. Somehow we will bond.

Meanwhile, I’ll just keep speaking to my worry-prone heart: “Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance” (Psalm 42:5, NKJV).

If you enjoyed this, please share (or scroll down to comment):

6 replies added

  1. Jeanne Doyon March 7, 2017 Reply

    Oh, my…my heart is tracking with yours, Terry. My kids are far away. My new grandson is too. We do Skype and I mail packages (he loves getting mail) but it is so hard to think about only seeing them in person once a year. Just needed you to know that I know how you feel.

    • Terry March 7, 2017 Reply

      Thanks, Jeanne. We’re just so fortunate to have a visual element to our communication, aren’t we? But, oh, the feeling of missing hugs!

  2. Jetta March 8, 2017 Reply

    Envy rears its head when I see friends with with local grandchildren. Your post struck a nerve! It also reminded me to give God my anxiety over bonding. What a timely post as our oldest grandson enters his busy teen years. Thank you, Terry!

    • Terry March 8, 2017 Reply

      I’m so glad this blessed you, Jetta. Thanks for your comment. It’s surprising how many people are in this same situation. But God…

  3. robertafish March 8, 2017 Reply

    I can so relate. I think that feeling also helps us to understand Jesus’ desire to come and take us home so there won’t be any distance. Thanks for sharing!

    • Terry March 9, 2017 Reply

      What a beautiful thought, Roberta! Yes. I can better understand His longing to have us home. Thank you.

Any thoughts on this? Please comment.