During a phone call with my mom this evening, something was finally put into words than I've felt at times while away from our friends and family this year. My mom, a former missionary herself, mentioned that after receiving letters about what everyone back home was doing together, she often felt left out. That her family had forgotten all about her. And something clicked deep within.
That's exactly how I've felt on occasion: after looking at the pictures of family fun together. Or hearing about programs at church we would've participated in but missed. Seeing pictures of my baby nephew as he grew up---in a completely different country than his Aunt, Uncle, and cousins.
Of course, I know our family and friends have not forgotten about us, any more than we have forgotten about them. Yet, this is still something we've experienced. This is the part of being a missionary that nobody warned me about. Or if they did, maybe I wasn't listening or didn't take it to heart. Yes, there would be moments of culture shock or moments of sheer homesickness. But feeling like your family had forgotten about you? Hadn't thought about that one.
On the flip side, I haven't necessarily gone out of my way to reach out to our family and friends, either. We have a phone with a US phone number that we pay a monthly fee for regardless of how much or little we use it. Communication is not a strong suit of mine. It's far easier to type in a note on Facebook, "like" a comment, or shoot a quick email than to make the effort at real communication.
So if I've felt forgotten, maybe my family and friends have too. And in a digital age when mail doesn't have to take more than a few weeks, or we can pick up the phone and make a call without it costing a small fortune, there really is not excuse for not staying connected. This realization is as freeing as it is convicting.
And so, my family and friends, I will try to do better at staying connected. Not just for my sense of connectivity, but for yours as well. Just as we want to feel a part of what's going on in your life, I know you want to be a part of ours.