An Ode to Long Distance Friends
Ben Gibbard – You Remind Me of Home
For about a week around New Year’s, I tried to write a post about the holidays. People want to hear that the holidays were lovely and sparkly and bright. And they were, really. Christmas for me is all my people coming home. I’m not exaggerating: many, if not most, of the people I call Home Team live at very least 2.5 hours away. At most, they are flights and transfers to other flights away.
So you can see how Christmas for me is reunions and maximized time together and tight hugs good-bye. The holidays are both bitter and sweet, and they play games with my heart.
A few weeks have passed now. Weeks of digging my heels deep in the opportunity for new habits, for regularity. For anything other than the emotional load of the holidays. And there are other people, present people and ones quite close to Home Team material. My parents are here and my extended family beyond and we take care of each other, sure. I know with great certainty and relief that I am exactly where I’m supposed to be.
With great reluctance, I’m learning that the Home Team doesn’t look at all like what I hoped it would at this stage in life. It doesn’t look like making grilled cheese after long days, or spending our least favourite holidays together with nothing but a movie and Indie popcorn. It doesn’t look like birthday celebrations or Wednesday champagne for no good reason. We aren’t neighbours and we don’t attend the same churches and we go months between real-life visits.
The present Home Team with its hateful geography looks a lot more like we are living up to our true selves and living out of a deep belief that our God is bigger than we can behold. The bittersweet truth is that the Home Team is motivational and encouraging and supportive in all sorts of ways, but especially in doing hard things – even things that take us to faraway places. The Home Team knows deep down that we want God’s best, which could be a PhD program in Boston, a camp in B.C., the mountains of Guatemala, or an apartment thirty minutes from my parent’s house. And I badly want the very best for my Team.
I struggle to let go of my picture of what the Home Team should look like right now. It would be very Instagram-worthy. But I don’t need someone to play Scrabble with on a regular Sunday afternoon. I need people who tell me the truth, who remind me who I am and who God is. That is what my Home Team is right now, and I am richer and fuller for you.
(Image via here)