I just got back from a whirlwind trip to Washington, DC. I haven’t been in well over a decade so it was wonderful to visit again. I’ve had quite a few friends and some family settle in the area and it was great to see some of them. And I truly do have some of the kindest friends and relatives. It’s always a treat to see them. I also got the chance to explore a bit of DC in my spare 4 hours out of my 5 day trip. My art history spidey sense was going crazy! My friend took me on a “tour” of the Capitol but he’s only been on staff with a certain Texan senator for 3 months so names and dates were a bit sparse. Eventually, a Capitol policeman got wind of my incomplete tour and took over. It was amazing! He’s been at the Capitol for 25 years, had the best stories, and I bet he would put most American history professors to shame. I even got to see the Senate baths deep in the boiler room. Everyone should make friends with the Capitol policemen. They rock.
But I’ve come to a conclusion that many people have already realized. Facebook has made me incredibly lazy regarding my relationships. I keep telling people that this whole process of missionary support raising is absolutely crazy but so rewarding because it pushes me to me intentional about my relationships. Yes, there’s a “motive” but I promise there’s no bait n’ switch. I’m asking people to partner with me as I go to Japan and partnership can only exist within relationship.
And in 3 years while I was teaching and secure in my situation, I never ONCE took a trip out to DC to visit people I love. I could have found time and bought the ticket but I didn’t because it requires a lot of planning with multiple people way in advance. It sounded like too much trouble at the time. Yes, it requires a bit of energy but now, having done it, it was completely worth it.
Many of these friends I haven’t seen since college, and a phrase that came up often was: “Well, I stalk you on Facebook.” Have our friendships devolved into cyber stalking? Looking but never engaging? In the end, we’re only isolating ourselves by observing mere façades of people. Our friends become characters in a children’s book with simple sentences and lots of pictures. Talking face to face encouraged me to be vulnerable and honest in a way that Facebook can never allow.
Technology is wonderful. I LOVE looking at photos of my nieces as they grow up, but I wish I could rock out to the Backyardigans with them. I’m a sucker for pretty pictures of food, but I wish I could eat it with you. My travels all over the world may look like a lot of fun, but it would always be more fun to be stuck in the airport for hours with my friends and family. Well, maybe not my family. My sisters and I just might go crazy.
I hope that this encourages you to make that coffee date. They really are worth the time.