The Power of Far-away Friends

faraway friends still count

You might think that I have a lot of little boys, until you meet my friend Julie, who has five.

Did everyone have a great Martin Luther King, Jr. Day? We did! I mean, we just went to school, but that’s fun for us because we get to see and talk to people there. We love people.

No, I mean we truly love people. I’ve had hermit phases that were incredibly sad, when I forgot how much I need others. My children and my husband are the same as me. We thrive off of social interaction.

Home school families sometimes have to work a little harder to get that. And that is exactly what this story is all about.

faraway friends count too

Yep. That’s nine little boys.

You see, I only began home schooling last school year. My friend Julie has been doing this much longer, but last year she found herself in an isolated place. I don’t know all the details, but I know that she lived on an island, far far away from any family, or neighbors with little boys, or cousins, or anything.

So Julie became a blogger, and somehow we found each other’s blogs. Birds of a feather always flock together, you know.

Many days I would feel down and find encouragement over at Julie’s Full Manger. And vice/versa. Raising several oh-so-boyish-little boys is a thing that bonds people. Actually, any shared experience bonds people, and Julie and I were both in a time when we had few other friends.

That sounds sad, that we didn’t have many friends on hand, but it was true.

faraway friends count too

“Life is much better with good friends to share it. A world without friends, I don’t think I could bear it.”

So we encouraged each other through our blogs. I didn’t pretend like home schooling several kids in a new state, for the first time, was something that was easy. I’ll never tell you that I love something that I don’t love. Honesty is always better than a facade of perfection.

Julie cheered me on to keep writing and to not grow weary, and she sent me emails of empathy. I think people with the gift of encouragement are my very favorite people. Don’t you agree?

And this spring, Julie got to move off her island, and back to a place that she knows. I think she has lots of friends now, many friends, and no internet reception. The horrors! Ha! She seems happy though. She doesn’t blog much now, but we keep up via email. So when she wrote me to say she’d be in town, we of course got our families together!

faraway friends count

“I think Caleb is taking like 70 pictures,” Julie informed me, without even breaking camera-smile.

faraway friends

“What! Oh, here, Caleb, that’s enough. Thank you.”

The internet is used for many destructive things in the lives of people. Thankfully, it has edifying uses too. There are so many online support groups you can find out there. This year, with my pain and stiffness flare up that won’t go away, I’ve been scouring the internet for chronic pain blogs and information on what might be wrong with me.

But isn’t everything that way? There are so many powers at our disposal in this modern age, and we all have our own unique powers too, but we must decide how to use those powers for good. It’s up to us to find support and to be supportive.

It’s neat how Julie and I were able to help each other at a time when we didn’t have anyone nearby. Sometimes far-away friends are just as powerful as those nearby, if you’re careful to keep in touch.

23Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; 24and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, 25not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.…    Hebrews 10:23-25