When I was a kid, sticking dots on a map to show where my people were was a simple task. Sure, there were the family members that lived a little further away from me than preferable, but most of my loved ones were clustered in the geographic circle I called home.
Now, that task wouldn’t be simple.
If I were given a map of the United States, there would be dots all over it. Parents in one city, friends in multiple, myself somewhere completely different. I would stick the dots on the map, most likely both laughing and crying, thinking about the long roads that hold the people I care about at their end, the memories these places carry.
What do you do when your heart becomes made up of map dots?
Frankly, if you’re me, you panic at first. You try to rip the map apart and stitch cities closer together. You wish you were the one who dictated geography.
At some point you give up on that, and you mourn the distance. Sometimes distance feels like loss, and it’s okay to grieve that for a little while.
Yet, there’s a turning point.
A map looks much brighter with places marked across it. Instead of mourning the map dots, you have to come to a place of appreciating their beauty and accepting that your heart, once in a whole place, is now scattered across geographic lines.
As much as goodbyes hurt and distance is difficult, there is something sweet about having people in your life that are hard to leave. There is a subtle joy in knowing that at some point, you will come together again. After all, it may be overused, but there really is truth in “it’s not goodbye, it’s ‘see you later.’”
My heart is made up of map dots, and while it may hurt more than almost anything else at points, it’s still okay. Is yours the same?
Embrace the beauty of a planet covered in people you care about. Be thankful for the modern era that keeps us connected. Take joy in being able alternate travel with hospitality.
As the years go by, the map dots increase. And, I’m learning that it’s okay.