Dear Friend Far Away

Dear Friend

We have not heard from each other in a while. To be honest, if it wasn’t for Facebook reminders, I probably would not even have remembered your birthday.

It has never been so easy to lose track of dates and time. I get lost in all that needs to be done and fail to take the five minutes needed to send that text message or e-mail. Although I have intended to send one for months.   

Nevertheless, I know that you don’t blame me or think the less of me for my failures.  I know that it is okay because you are okay with it. And this letter doesn’t have to be an excuse, explanation, or some kind of reprisal.

We’ve always been the kind of friends who could pick up right where we left off.  So, I’m giving you the same grace I’m hoping to receive in this silent season. That you may be fully present where you are, in whatever season of life you may find yourself in.  

Life is probably draining enough already, and the last thing you need is a good old friend misinterpreting your silence as a sign that you do not care about her anymore. Especially when we both know this is a lie.  We also recognize the liar behind this evil whisper who aims to divide and destroy.

The truth is, I think of you more often than you will ever know.

And when I do, I’m not reaching for my phone to send a text message. Instead, I whisper a silent prayer. Having learned that there is often a reason why someone comes to mind, and praying for him is the most powerful thing one can do in that moment.

When I do end up sending that text message, e-mail, or voice-mail. I can never expect you to understand (or reply to) the hundreds of questions  all rolled into a simple “How are you?”.

The funny thing about this stage of life is that regardless of how close you may have once been to someone, it is often easier to relate to strangers who are facing similar experiences and/or the same stage of life.  

And yet, being able to relate with someone doesn’t make you instant friends. True friends are those who are willing to stick with you through all stages of life… No matter whether they relate to you or not. True friends recognize that circumstances may change, but know that you will still be you.

I cannot possibly know what it is like to be over thirty and still single, or already divorced. And even if I know what it is like for me to be an ex-pat, a wife, or a mother. I may not know what your homeland, husband, baby, or situation is really like. Or the extent of the challenges you have to face at home and work each day.

All I know is that a part of me will always wish I was the one next to you…

In that picture, at the finish line, at your dinner table, at your hospital bed, or drinking coffee at the local coffee shop. It doesn’t matter how far time or distance have removed us from each other. The memories, the mountain-top experiences we shared, and the soul-deep conversations we had in the past have all shaped us into becoming who we are today.

I will embrace every future opportunity I get to be the one next to you. But if someone else has that privilege today, I won’t be jealous. Instead, I will rejoice that that person is being blessed by being near you. In any case, I will rest assured that we will always be friends. And God knows, the world is in need of people who know the value of true friendship. People who truly care about others and value relationships above all else.

At best I hope that those around you will see you for who you truly are and count themselves blessed to know you. 

I also hope that you will seek out new friends and find time to stay in touch with old ones. I never realized it would be so hard to do so while living in a distant land. It is especially difficult to make new friends when you do not speak the local language, or share the same values or a love for very spicy food.

Perhaps you are reading this though you may not see yourself as my “far away friend”.  However, I know you must be someone’s “far away friend”. It doesn’t matter if you are the one who moved or the one who stayed. Know that you are missed and loved. Do not misinterpret the silence and never be too scared to be the one to break it.

You are not forgotten and you will always be loved.  

    Image credit: Pixabay

Dorette is a South African expat living and working in South-East-Asia with her family. She loves discovering practical ways to live out her faith, spending time with people, going on adventures and capturing all the precious moments in pictures or words.

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