Distance–by Christine Long
Distance. In a simple game of word association: Distance. I Can Go the Distance. Disney, adventure, travelling, pictures of place that I’ve been, Instagram, social media, distance.
Sometimes we feel far away from other people or from God — especially when we want others to think that we’re actually getting closer. Distance is that feeling of seeing a circle of people and having no idea how to get in — unless you count that super dramatic jump from the table into the middle of the circle idea. Distance is uncomfortable.
I’m the person who is uncomfortable with surprise hugs — but I’m even more uncomfortable eating by myself when I see groups of people eating together. Distance is uncomfortable. And I think that it’s meant to be. If it wasn’t, we wouldn’t have the motivation to get closer.
Sometimes we don’t notice how far away we are until we look. I was driving to Mass one morning — listening to praise and worship — and then I got distracted, trying to race a friend to the church. So I missed what He was trying to tell me: to live like him, humbly.
Sometimes we know we’re far away from Him. Maybe because we have a habit of sin that we’ve been working to break or because we’re so uncomfortable with the distance that we fill it with noise and busyness so we don’t notice it.
And sometimes, God is distant, not because of what we did, but because He wants to see what we can do. He’s the father trying to teach his child to walk or ride a bike; and it’s terrifying, and sometimes, painful. But sometimes it’s necessary.
A relationship with God is just that — a relationship. A two-way street that involves participation on both parts. God wants to know us, and we want to know Him. But He also wants to show us our true selves. The part of Himself that He placed inside each of us that we’re meant to hold onto and act on. The closer we get to God, the closer we are to our true selves.
It’s hard to know God. After all, He is one giant ball of mysteries upon mysteries that cannot ever be comprehended by the human mind. No big deal. But we must not let that scare us. As intimidating as He is, we have to remember who He is and what He loves to do. He loves to love us. And the Father loves to show us the Son, and the Son loves to show us the Father. He wants us to know Him — take it from the girl He sent to the Holy Land for that very reason. If I know anything, it’s that He has a name for each of us — specifically.
He comes to us in His word, in Disney movies, the things we love, the places we go and see, and the people right in front of us — our bus drivers, the homeless that we step around; He comes to us in stories, and we only have to find what He’s trying to tell us.
I spent an entire bus ride listening to a man talk about his experiences and hardships in Minneapolis, and I listened to a homeless man talk about his struggles with alcohol and isolation for so long that I was almost late to class. I’m not meaning to say “look at me, I’m holy.” The point I’m trying to make is that people want to be seen and heard. And doesn’t God desire that as well? And my heart ached for those men and their suffering. Doesn’t God feel the same way towards us? Doesn’t Christ suffer like those men? We are called to look at the suffering. To see them and care for them. And we are called to look at God. Because when we look at God, we can see Him. And then we can know Him, and know that we are closer to Him.
Christine Long is a currently senior at the University of Missouri and is double-majoring in English and History. She defines herself as a grandma at heart, who loves statues, cute babies, dogs, baking, and knitting. When she’s not at Newman, you can probably find her with a coffee, avoiding her homework, secretly (or not so secretly) thinking about her favorite films, tv shows, or books. Her blog is inactive at the moment due to heavy course load, but can be found at: somylongstoryshort.blogspot.com