“Blest Be the Tie That Binds”

There are very few times in our lives that Jody and I have been apart for more than a week at a time. I noticed two things happening during those times. One was the more we were apart, the fonder we became. The greater the longing to be together again. Second, being further apart made it easier for us to question each other or become more critical.  It is an interesting contrast of emotions, longing on one hand and questioning on the other.

When we come back together the longing trumps the questioning. Now we see each other. Now we can communicate directly. Now we see each other face-to-face. The fondness is rewarded and the other evaporates into nothingness.

But why the questioning? Because we miss each other and need to see each other. It is not a lack of trust, but the separation separates us.  We were not meant to be separated. We were meant to be together. Together we are better. Apart we are not all there. Someone is missing.

I also observe that is true in other relationships. It is true of our relationship as brothers and sisters. Today we are immersed in “Social Distancing.”  Right or wrong, that is not good for us. Emails, texts, social media are poor substitutes for face-to-face contact with each other. In fact, many times those mediums cause problems.  They can be useful when we see each other on a regular basis. At best, they are supplemental to our relationships. They do not function well as the primary source of our being connected. It is too easy to read something into what is said that was never intended. We say, “But we should know each other and trust each other.” Yes, true. But the separation has created a distance that impedes necessary communication, not verbal but physical. It does not mean trust is lost. It means we need to see each other. Then when we see each other the distance fades as if it never happened.

“Social Distancing” may stop the spread of a virus but also creates a virus. It is called surmising. When we begin to surmise, our minds run wild regarding anything said in a text, email, or social medium.  We begin to think things of others we would never have thought of thinking before. Relationships are not better but grow worse. Close ties are frayed. Confidence in each other becomes suspicious. Emotions become intensified. We begin to interpret everything with a jaundiced eye.  If the “social distancing” is not soon ended, relationships can be irreparably harmed.

We sing, “Blest Be the Tie That Binds” by John Fawcett. It is a song that speaks of mutual love, concern, comfort, and being together. It says we feel inward pain when we are apart.  It says we need each other. Christians are not mean to be apart. Our mutual relationship is strengthened when we are together. Then all the woes vanish. Affirmation is reassured. Approval is confirmed. Affection is received. Acceptance is renewed.

Blest be the tie that binds
Our hearts in Christian love.
The fellowship of kindred minds
Is like to that above.
Before our Father's throne
We pour our ardent prayers.
Our fears, our hopes, our aims are one,
Our comforts and our cares.
We share our mutual woes,
Our mutual burdens bear.
And often for each other flows
The sympathizing tear.
When we asunder part,
It gives us inward pain.
But we shall still be joined in heart,
And hope to meet again.

Rickie Jenkins