Long Distance “Life Together”

My desire is to do whatever I can to nurture long distance “Life Together” (Bonhoeffer) while minimizing distance, yet even after a couple decades of doing so, I often find digital community far more maddening than I do refreshing; this connecting for different purposes and seasons, for friendship or profession, or ministry.

A voice tells me to be grateful. My husband and I “get” to choose to celebrate and share life with our loved ones, all of whom (but a tiny handful), live hours and hours away. Still, I am all too familiar with lingering digital fatigue, from trouble-shooting and trying to communicate correctly my tone of voice, intention and motive…especially in the hours when I just want to curl up beside one of my kids, my sisters, a friend, or my mama.

Yesterday, I turned the page to discover “Rejoice” the chapter title of the week in Word by Word by Marilyn McEntyre. How lovely a word for Easter morning. I read to Jamé in the quiet of the bright morning:

“I love the idea that we’ve been “ordered” to rejoice—that joy is commanded and expected of people of faith … [and that] the liturgical year marks out festival days on which joy is expressed and expected…transcending individual sorrows and sharing in communal proclamation of what is fundamentally true: that we have reason to rejoice. That joy has the last word.”

McEntyre goes on to say, “It helps to remember that joy, even great joy, is sometimes quiet. Because joy isn’t just an emotion—it’s a way of knowing.”

This shared reading and meditation is especially meaningful after some exhausting days of prayer for tragedies in our friends’ lives and in some murky areas of our own. Long distance makes the waiting and living together in hard times, a lonely practice.

When asked how I’m doing yesterday, I said something like: I’m glad that we have many sides to this diamond we call life. While some angles are a bit rough or pitted, and therefore cast a bit of shadow on the others, if I angle this one just so, the Light is vibrant and true.

Today joy is a way of knowing—of filtering light, and seeing. Our parents are well, our children are well. Our world is healing. We are blessed.

I pray the same for you.

The LORD your God is with you.

He is mighty to save.

He will take great delight in you.

He will quiet you with His love.

He will rejoice over you with singing.

Zephaniah 3:17 NIV