Even From a Distance

Having been raised in Hawaii long distance friendships were normal for me and correspondence became a way of life. My pen pals ranged in age from 80 to 5, some I had chatted with in person and some I had never met before, some were in other countries and some were just states away. I learned about friendship cultivation through these letters.

  • Share the details. The friendships that flourished were the ones where our letters were filled with every day tidbits, decorated with stickers and doodling, and even had jokes going back and forth. We moved past the mundane facts and chatted in pen as if we were in person.
  • Share my heart. It takes effort to open up long distance but the sharing of struggles and emotions crosses the miles. Friendships do not deepen without vulnerability.
  • Take the time. I really tried to make my correspondence a weekly priority and had set days when I replied to my letters in the order they came. I wrote to my elderly penpals weekly, regardless if they had written back. Sometimes I would surprise my friends with little gifts in their letters.

With the advancement of technology, letter writing is a fading practice; even emails are becoming obsolete thanks to text messaging, Facebook messenger, Marco Polo, Snapchat, Instagram and all the other social media sites that connect people. In my opinion though, social media requires us to work even harder to cultivate friendship.

As we inform the masses of our life happenings we lose the personal closeness that comes with sitting down to write to ONE person or picking up the phone and having a chat with ONE person (something that I’m terrible at initiating since I have a phobia of phone calls. LOL!) The tidbits I learned so long ago about cultivating friendships across the miles may have been learned through letter writing but are still relevant in this social media driven world. We still need to share details, share our hearts and take time to be a good friend.

What is your preferred method for cultivating long distance friendships?

About wordvessel

Aloha! This blog is a window into the active mind of a wife, mother, woman and individual. I may be busy every moment of every day, but I still have time to think. Many seasons have blossomed and faded within my life, and this blog has endured through all of them. It is safe to say that my writing has matured because of them. I hope that you will be inspired to think in fresh ways as you read my writing. To Jesus be all the glory.
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7 Responses to Even From a Distance

  1. I must admit I am terrible to phone calls, but this is still my preferred way or communication


  2. Great questions Shelby. Though I love to write and receive letters, I do it sparingly. I am making a letter a priority for one person a month. This is a goal I can meet, though it doesn’t make it Godly. I am with you in that the meat of true friendship is doing all life together, sharing joy and pain un vulnerability. Hard to cultivate that online only. Phone calls are necessary for me for long distance relationships I treasure, but it is amazing how little we commit to those. It is worth more examination on my end. Thank you and praying right now that when you lift your feet at the end of the night, you will experience supernatural refilling in your spirit.

    Liked by 1 person

    • wordvessel says:

      Yes, relationships definitely require a time investment. They are vital to life and yet we can’t be all things to all people. Even Jesus had His closest circle despite being often surrounded by crowds. I am a work in progress as I navigate all of this while caring for my handful of little people.

      Liked by 1 person

      • So true. We most certainly cannot be all things to all people. Thank you for stating that so plainly. Praying for your baby to be bouncing and healthy, Shelby. Praying for Jesus to lift your soul each day as the weight gets heavier. Love, Julie

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I have stayed very close to friends who live far away. We exchange hand-written notes and also ‘talk’ on Facebook. I do an annual Christmas letter each year which keeps friends and family informed of our yearly happenings. The letters are now a great family tradition…it is fun to look back and see all the things we were doing.

    Liked by 1 person

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