Love is Sincere Listening – Presence Care Series

Editor’s Foreword: Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, California, together with many other states and cities, have implemented stay-at-home orders since mid-to-late March. Suddenly people’s activities and gatherings have had to stop. With faces hiding under masks and people taking precaution through social distancing from fear of getting infected, we suddenly feel very distant from one another. For friends and families not living together, all connections have become long-distance ones. Feeling disconnected is somewhat inevitable. From Michelle, the author of the article below, we can tell that with love and care, plus sincere listening, long distance can actually promote a deeper level of communication and growth and not necessarily hinder relationship-building. We hope you can experience light and warmth as you read her article in this time of stay-at-home.

By: Michelle Tam

(Adapted from Presence Family Magazine, September 2016, Issue 8

When my daughter decided to pursue her college education in Boston, our relationship began a new chapter. Although the long distance and time difference have been enormously challenging, it has also been the most rewarding experience for the both of us. Thanks to modern technology, even though we are 3,000 miles apart, my daughter and I are still able to keep in touch every single day through FaceTime. Our conversations cover a variety of topics ranging from politics to romance, from fashion to academics. Being an available companion is our way of saying, “I’m here for you.”

Living away from home means my daughter has to deal with daily life on her own. This comes with freedom and excitement as well as challenges and frustration. Whenever she is confronted with a problem, I must remind myself to refrain from making judgments about her, but instead, let her solve her own problems. During her first year in Boston, she called one day saying she had overslept and missed an important test. She was very emotional and anxious. Instead of questioning why she had overslept, I asked her about possible solutions to remedy the situation. A couple days later, during our daily conversation, she told me the reason she had overslept, and I was thrilled by her forthcoming honesty. There is an added bonus for maintaining a non-judgmental attitude when talking to my child: I am able to see the world through her eyes with a whole new perspective. I feel young and energetic again!

Over the past few years, even though the physical distance between us has grown, our minds and hearts have stayed closer than ever. I pray for my daughter’s safety and well-being every day. Although many things are out of my control, I know God is always watching over her. I’m thankful for every opportunity God gives me to grow alongside my daughter and for our relationship to grow no matter whether we are near or far. 

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