Distance Cuts the Tie Which Binds

Ed, my neighbor next door, feels the world is divided into two types of people. On one side, there are people like him who have never left home. Then there are people like me who have rolled around all over the country like empty take-out coffee cups blown about in the wind. I was telling Ed that we had received word that a long-time friend had died two provinces away. A card, a call, a donation in the person’s honor, seemed like too little recognition for the years of friendship between us.

“That’s what you get for living here and there and many other places,” observed Ed. I had to agree with Ed that a person can only be at one place at a time and that there is a blessing in being close enough to be there in person for a funeral. Distance does keep one from taking part in both the joyous and sad times of life experienced by friends and family.

“I wasn’t privileged to be born here like you, Ed,” I answered and then added, “Staying here a lifetime was a choice you made. Who knows if you will sell your farm you move to B.C. or Mexico or Las Vegas.”

“I’m not leaving town even if I do sell my farm. Why would I go somewhere else when my house here beside you is paid for? I’ll never be, a tumbleweed blowing around creation,” Ed answered with blunt conviction.

“I thought as much,” I told Ed. “It doesn’t matter where you live if you are happy there. You might be very happy in B.C., Mexico or Los Vegas. You may also be happy never to find out,” I told Ed.

“I’ll be here until I get planted in the cemetery and then I’ll still be here,” Ed informed me.

There is strength in being able to say, “I’m here and this is where I’ll stay.” Staying put, allows for your roots to go deep and it also gives an ever-growing knowledge of both what is and what has been.

What is and what has been gives us limited control. We are out of control when it comes to the future. Am I done rolling all over the country? Will Ed always live in town in his house or his grave? Only God knows. Our future is held by God. It is not ours to know.

Often as we pray, we either ask that we will have what we want or that everything will turn out fine for all. The truth that God is almighty and holds the future in his hands means our trust needs to be in Him, not ourselves. God has a wonderful plan for our lives – a plan that will take us through trial and triumph. We get stuck on the present and the past. God calls us to live by faith, not sight, each day. Day by day, our future becomes our past.

Every day our challenge is to trust God’s mercy in trouble or sadness or blessings. His mercies are new every morning. God’s word tells us that we are to “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness.” God does not care where we live, but that we live to love Him with our heart, soul, strength and mind and our neighbor as ourselves – wherever we live. Our part is to make our lives fit with His sovereign will.

 

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Raymond Maher
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