Our 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gestures in snapshots, which (no matter how quickly we processed the film and got them mailed) were hopelessly out of date by the time they arrived.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.
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).