Tuesday, May 31, 2016

We Are "Framily"

Friends…they can bring us joy, have an influence us, bring us pain or love on us when you most need it. You get the good and the bad when you risk being a friend to someone. A life lesson I’m currently walking through with my kids.

Since living overseas my view of friendship has broadened. When we left behind our family and friends in 2013, I knew things would be different with the relationships we were leaving behind. But it was more than I could have ever imagined the night we boarded the plane that took us across the ocean.

True friends show up at the airport wearing coordinating colors...

I soon realised that maintaining long distance relationships took work…and lots of it. It meant a simple text or email or making sure I wrote a quick note to send with someone who could snail mail it when they returned to the states. I knew I couldn’t let my relationships stateside wither and die just because I had moved 10,000 miles away. Thankfully, our family, close friends and church family have stuck with us on this journey. They’ve updated us on family happenings, major events or just a “hey-we miss you like crazy today” email. They’ve sent packages…some have made it and some have gotten lost in the “overseas package abyss”. Regardless of where those lost boxes are, the emails, texts and e-mails and even lost boxes have meant the world to us.

When we return for 13 months this December, I know I will encounter more than our fair share of awkward moments. There will be times where I’m out of the loop because I haven’t been around to know what’s happened or what someone is talking about. I won’t be speaking the latest lingo (I am getting used to the #hashtag!) and rest assured I won’t have the latest fashion trends in my closet. I’ll be the weird outsider looking inside to a world that I used to call my home. In those moments I’ll be thankful for the relationships that have withstood time and miles of ocean that currently separate us.

What I never expected to find are the kind of friendships we have here. When one leaves their family, home country, friends and “normal”, well, that puts you in a unique category. What I didn’t expect to find with these new friends were friendships that went deep so quickly. Cut the “what’s your favourite colour?” to “So what do you miss about home this time of year?” These friendships have become family type relationships. I lovingly call them “framily”.

Our “framily” are the people we’ve celebrated holidays and birthdays with, mourned with and prayed with when hard news comes from far away. Friendships that will face familiar trials of distance when furlough times don’t align. Friends that speak the truth in love because, well, sometimes you need to be set straight. This type of friendship was something we left and we didn’t expect to find again. But God knew how much we needed those kind of people in our lives.

So as we enter our fourth year in a row of the “see ya later” season, I’m humbly grateful for the friends and family stateside who have pressed on with us through the long distance that separates us. I’m grateful for each person that God has placed in our lives on this side of the world, at just the right time. I know I’m a far richer person because of each one of them.

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