When I tell someone news about my life trek, I want to see their facial expression. There is no way to measure their reaction without speaking face to face or at a minimum a live discussion. When I tell you my hair has all fallen out, I had rather see your reaction than read a well intended "It's OK" while meanwhile you are sitting with your mouth agape and the words, "Bless Her Heart, she must be ugly as a bald pig," said behind my back.
Many of the friends I am really close to have had major changes in their lives. We don't often pick up the phone to fill in a friend--no matter how close--about the disasters in our lives when they live 4 1/2 hours away. Solace comes with presence. A hug goes a really long way in conveying our love and understanding, but a card even when well intentioned is extremely impersonal.
The greatest sympathy and empathy are portrayed by our physical presence and listening ear.
My sweet daughter gave me a great piece of wisdom more than ten years ago,
"Mom, I don't need you to solve all my problems, I just need you to listen to them." My personality is to jump in and try to solve any problem you present to me. Many times--perhaps most times--the most important thing I can do for you is to be still and listen. This plays out in most of the relationships in our lives. Be present and be aware of the one in front of you. Do not be scanning the room for who else might be there--have your full attention on the person in front of you.
SO--one early on conclusion of the effects of my absence has been realizing I don't know what I didn't know--because it will only be shared in my presence. As a marriage grows with living life together over an extended period of time, so do our relationships with others. We must be physically present in some form to deepen the bonds that tie us together. Living life together grows close and strong bonds. I am mulling all this over--how do I remedy this or is there a remedy? Will continued absence create a greater gulf between me and those I hold dear? Where do I go from here?
“Encourage one another daily, as long as it is called ‘Today,’ so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.”