Sunday, January 03, 2016

Letter to my friends

To my friends from my passport country-

I'm sorry that we sat by the campfire that night and I didn't know what to say. Our lives have been piling forward on different continents for some time now. I desperately want you to understand my life in China, but my stories of duck blood hot pot or 6 am wedding processions seem to be a compilation of snippets rather than a constructed life story. I've tried to mold my life experience into something palatable for you, but I'm afraid that I've failed over and over again. A decade has gone by since I've been able to call you at 8 and meet with you by 9.

Friends have attended your baby showers, I have commented on Instagram.

Your small group brought you dinner when you were sick, I sent you an emoji of a penguin in hopes it made you smile.

I walked with you through grief in a few 45 minute Skype conversations.

I realize it's been hard to be friends over the internet. But what I want you to know is that my lack of physical presence doesn't mean I don't need you in my world. I think it's easy for us both to forget that as our lives press forward, there is a person on the other side of the world who loves us and needs to hear from us. I've failed at this more times than is possible to count. Time zones have made me late to wish you happy birthday. By not checking Facebook, I've totally missed your son's broken arm.

Don't give up on those of us who live overseas. We are all thankful to God that technology allows us to text you from 8,000 miles away. While it might seem we are living these radical lives for Jesus, we need you to ask us hard questions.We need you to see the person and not just the job we've been called to.

One of the things we crave overseas are people with whom we have history. It is balm for the soul to have a friend who knew you when you stayed up too late while sleeping on a pier. We still love hearing about the time you cried when the grocery store ran out of Cheez-its.

I get it. This friendship is hard. But thank you for sticking it out with me.

I might present myself as stoic, but in reality I am needy.

We need your prayers.

We need your perspective.

We need your presence.

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