Ramblings: DISTANCE

A hurricane named Ike is hitting the Texas coastline tonight – and is expected to do immeasurable damage (though we will measure it in dollars and lives and acres of land and inches of rain).

In a few minutes I’m headed to my queen sized bed (big bed, but not the “biggest”) in my air conditioned house for a good (measured, in part, by how long it takes to get to sleep and how often I wake up before I mean to wake up) night’s sleep. Since tomorrow is Saturday, I will un-set my alarm and wake up when I wake up.

Somewhere in the mountains of Colorado, my friend is staring out the window of her room and drinking in the wonder of snow capped mountains. I bet it’s sweatshirt weather (one way I measure comfort) at that altitude (high, but not the highest), at least most of the day.

My cousin’s oldest two daughters are adjusting to life back in Nebraska after a short-term mission trip that took them to Cambodia. The distance between those two places on the globe is minimal compared to the deeper distances between.

Another friend is in transit between Nairobi and Bankok over the weekend — more movement between “two worlds” that happens so easily with jets and doppler radar. Is it close or far? The travel will be fast, but only when compared to slow boats and wagon trains.
Oh, and in beautiful southern California, a friend is working with doctors and friends to strategize the best way to respond to melanoma and begins a 12-month process that has side-effects. For all the yuck that is ahead, we are doing a happy dance because lymph nodes are showing clear and that makes a world of difference. Yes, the distance between ‘stage 3’ and ‘stage 4’ is greater than the numbers might imply.  (And 12- months of treatment seems like a long time — but when the news could have been “12-months to live”…yeah. Interesting how our measurement changes with circumstance.)
I’ve been thinking, I guess, about distance — how Ike never got closer than hundreds of miles from Orlando, but we felt a bit of his fury as he passed and it was nothing compared to what others are feeling right now. 
Distance between me sitting here and others sitting where they are sitting — reading email, blogging, updating their Facebook status, or looking for affordable flights. 
How can so great a distance sometimes feel so insignificant and so terrible in the same moment? And how can such a small space between be the difference between light and dark, between yes and no, between life and death?

As I’m winding down from a week full of interesting twists and turns, I find myself thinking around the globe about measuring the distance, the impact, the importance…

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