So Near, Yet So Far

Monday, April 11, 2011

Crystal City, Missouri and Maeystown, Illinois are on opposite sides of the Mississippi River. Although they are only ten miles apart, you have to drive a horseshoe to get from one to the other. That's because there are no bridges in the approximately 60-mile stretch between St. Louis, Missouri, to the north and Chester, Illinois, to the south. So near, yet so far.

My 91-year-old mother was living alone in her own home, driving herself to church and the senior center and the grocery store. Then she had a minor stroke. Minor, but enough to change her unassisted walk into a wheelchair ride and her independence into dependence. It also moved her to an assisted living facility five miles away. Only five miles, but she can't even visit the house on her own. So near, yet so far.

One of my writing friends spent many years in Africa as a missionary. After a recent stint in the U.S., she looked for another opportunity to return to the mission field, and she thought she found it in an African country where she hadn't served before. She spent her own money to travel there, stay in temporary housing, and take lessons to learn the language and the culture. But the sponsorship she had been promised didn't materialize. And since her visa is almost up, she may have to return to the U.S. So near, yet so far.

These days even near isn't close enough. We want here. Now. We've lost the gift of patience. Or at least I have.

And I want it back.

So here's another way to view things.
  • If there were a bridge between Maeystown and Crystal City, travelers would miss the beauty they find along the current route.
  • Without the loss of her independence, Mama wouldn't have met new people and enriched their lives.
  • Some day my friend will look back on this experience and say, "Oh, THAT's why."
So near, yet so far? Maybe.

Or maybe the distance is just right.

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