“I have much to write you, but I do not want to do so with pen and ink. I hope to see you soon, and we will talk face to face.” 3 John 1:13

Our grandson just completed seven weeks of summer camp at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, and starts academics today. Needless to say, we are grateful, proud, and blessed to pray for him every day. It has been a great joy to have him call a couple of times briefly, but to see a letter in the mailbox from him twice was a thrill! They had no computers or cell phones during the summer except for a limited time on various Sundays, so we felt privileged to receive those calls, and even more so the letters, knowing how busy and tired he was.

I love handwritten letters or notes because they are so rare in our technology-driven culture, but John didn’t have email, texting, or social media, so he said he’d rather talk face to face. We know that Gaius and John were good friends, and brothers in Christ, and nothing is better than a heart-to-heart, face-to-face talk with a best friend.

In the office, I often abandon “chat” and email and talk to my coworkers in person. That way we can have an exchange where we see each other’s eyes and body language. Text or chat messages are fine most of the time, but some things are just better talked about face to face. Why, because sometimes texted words are easy to misconstrue or misinterpret. In this case, I believe John just wanted to catch up with his good friend Gaius in person to share more than he could in writing.

Last Friday evening, my phone rang, and it was a Facetime call from our grandson! I was so happy to see his face and hear all about his experiences. We even got to see his new room and some of his bunkmates! It just made my heart so happy, full, and grateful for this technology and our grandson. Will I still treasure those two handwritten letters? Yes, I will! They are special, but there is nothing quite like looking into the eyes of the person you care about. I’ve learned the blessing it is for both parties when I take the time to call, write a note or just show up for someone. We’ve been talking about hospitality, welcoming strangers, and now the value of friendship. “We are all so busy being busy” as my dad used to say, and we need to make the choice and take time to reach out to one another and those maybe we don’t know so well. We find or make time for those people or things most important to us, and this chapter reminds us that every one of his children is important to Jesus.

Deb Hill

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