Welcome to another chapter of Grateful Heart Monday, where gratitude remains the sole focus in my writing for the day, which for today is for all the effort my best friend Cedric continues to put into maintaining our long-distance friendship, matching my own efforts, that has kept our connection close for well over 24 years now, and for two others who continue to do similarly, that being my dear friend Dexter, and my sister Laura.
Maintaining long-distance friendships is tough. At least in my case I’ve learned that keeping one in a close fashion takes a lot more than just talking on the phone from time to time. Countless friendships in my life have fallen to the wayside whenever I’ve moved away, usually due to the lack of effort put into keeping them going. Out of sight, out of mind, is often what I think happens in these cases. While a phone call here and there does tend to stir my heart when I talk to a long-distance friend I haven’t seen or spoken to in a good while, it’s never been enough to help keep that bond feeling close like it once was when I lived close by.
Cedric and I have come to understand this over the years. To keep our friendship close, we have regularly scheduled phone calls with each other, usually twice a week, and visits to each other as well, usually twice a year. Ad one thing Cedric and I both do when we aren’t feeling up for a call on one of our regularly scheduled times is we immediately reschedule a make-up time, typically the next day or so. And when it comes to visiting each other, we alternate going to each other’s homes every six months, spending a week each time, as that has always been enough refresh our close bond.
I’ve tried to maintain other long-distance friendships similarly, but except for my dear friend Dexter, and my sister Laura, none have really seemed interested in putting much work into it, which has led to infrequent conversations over the phone and me feeling a growing distance with most of them. The fact that Cedric and I have maintained the closeness we continue to share for as long as we have is simply because we keep putting forth the effort to keep it going.
Close friendships, like any type of relationship, take a lot of work, and ours has definitely required much of that, especially in light of some of the differences in religious beliefs he and I have now. Yet, we continue to love each other dearly, accepting each other unconditionally, knowing the true bond that keeps us going isn’t really in our efforts alone, it’s in our devotion to God. As it’s God who has helped us overcome each of those ego-struggles we’ve had from time to time over the years, pushing us to go deeper within, which in turn has led to far stronger bonds and increased efforts to keep our connection spiritually growing.
One thing I’ve been very grateful about Cedric’s efforts specifically is his willingness to come visit me, even when my pain levels have been severe, when I haven’t wanted to do much of anything. He would tell you that his purpose of coming to see me isn’t for what he’s going to do while on his vacation time, it’s simply to just be with me, even if it’s only to sit around and reconnect. That effort alone is priceless in my spiritual book and something I’m extremely grateful for.
I honestly wish I had other long-distance friendships beyond him, Dexter, and my sister, with others who would like to talk to me weekly and see me each year, but I’m grateful nonetheless for the efforts the three of them continue to do with me, to keep our connection close, especially in recent years, where I’ve very much struggled with my health and feeling alone. Each of gone above and beyond to maintain a close long-distance connection with me, and for that I’m truly grateful on this Grateful Heart Monday.
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson