"When we encounter others, do we bring them the warmth of charity or do we stay closed up and warm only ourselves before our fireplace?" ~Pope Francis
I have never had the experience to travel for the holidays. Growing up, a 45-minute trip to our cousin's house seemed like an eternity. Usually our house was the destination. I married into an even closer-knit crew that gratefully, more or less, live within a 30-minute radius. So, it seems insane to me, to venture through overstuffed airports or sit in hours of endless traffic and sleep in a bed that's not my own on the holidays. Don't even get me started on parades.
This week, we were with some friends who made the trek for Thanksgiving. When I heard how many hours they were in the car with their small children all to see one sibling, my face must have communicated what my mind was thinking - you're nuts. "Not your cup of tea, Dan?" I shook my head, no. "It's a little nuts," he said, "but you go the distance for family, right?"
As I thought about his trip, I wondered how much I "go the distance." Regardless of the actual mileage between me and the ones I love, what's the emotional distance? Do I stay "closed up" before my fireplace (which I love, by the way) or do I go to meet them? Do I travel to where they are or where they need me despite the effort? We know our Lord goes the distance for us. Are we trying to meet him halfway? I'm not envious of my friend's journey, but, I must admit, I was a little jealous of how much the destination meant to him. As we look to begin Advent this Sunday, who will go to meet? They may be closer to us than we think.