As summer draws to a close, so has my internship. In fact, I’m already back in Illinois and back on campus at Wheaton College. While I still have plenty of processing to do, one thing is very clear about this summer: It has been a gift, primarily because of the people I got to spend it with.
The thought of leaving these friends behind is sad to say the least, but last week I challenged myself to commit more wholeheartedly to maintaining these new relationships long-distance. Exactly how to do that is a challenge in and of itself. Thankfully, I have friends and family who have shown me what love and care looks like from both near and far.
This list is a compilation of the ways that I have felt cared for in the past few months and is by no means exhaustive or prescriptive.
Maybe this seems obvious, but I can’t tell you how known and loved I feel when someone looks into my eyes and engages with what I am saying.
2. Surprise them with a little gift.
One morning, a fellow intern knocked on my cube with a coffee and donut in hand. That little breakfast surprise brightened my entire day. Even after I was done drinking my coffee, seeing the empty cup on my desk made me smile.
3. Leave them an encouraging note.
It doesn’t have to be long. A simple sticky note with something like, “You are important to me” or “Thanks for being my friend” will do. One intern left me a sticky note: “Melissa, you’re a rock star.” I keep it stuck to my computer screen and it gives me encouragement every time I see it.
4. Let them know you’re thinking of them.
If a friend comes to mind, shoot them a text. So many times, a simple “Hey, thinking of you, hope you’re doing well” type of text will lead to a longer, meaningful conversation.
5. Send them snail mail.
I got a pen pal back in second grade and have been hooked on writing letters ever since. Amidst the random advertisements and bills that cycle through your mailbox, do you know how fun it is to receive a handwritten note? It’s really, really, fun. Don’t know how to fill a whole page with words? Just write about your day as if you were having a conversation over a cup of coffee. Ask them some questions, and maybe they’ll write you back!
6. Send them a picture of a fun memory.
I find myself scrolling through my camera roll often, pretty much bathing in nostalgia. Sometimes when I run across a picture of me and a friend, I’ll text it to them, inviting them into the nostalgia. It’s a sweet way to remember the good times you’ve shared.
7. Send them an article or a meme.
If you run across something that reminds you of a conversation you had with them in the past, send it to them! I always feel special when someone remembers a conversation we’ve had in the past and sends me something related, whether serious or funny.
8. Ask them how you can bless or help them in the coming days.
Schedules get full and the to-do list gets long. Offering to take one thing off their plate can make a world of difference.
9. Ask them how you can be praying for them.
We are called to share each other’s burdens.
10. Actually pray for them.
On one of my last days of work, one of my coworkers came to my cube, asked me how he could be praying for me, then sat down and prayed right then and there. While sharing your burdens feels good, knowing that those burdens are actually being brought before the Lord feels even better. It’s easy to hear someone’s prayer requests, then immediately forget about them. Pause and pray!
It only takes a minute to let your friends know that they are valued. So go find a sticky note and let them know!
Copyright 2020 Focus on the Family. All rights reserved.