“How Long is Too Long?”

The other day, I read a blog post by a young Jesuit with the above title: How long is too long?

In the post, the author describes his reluctance to contact old friends he had not been in contact with for sometime. He is quite aware of the source of his reluctance, saying with respect to his hesitation about contacting friend in a town he would be passing through: “In truth, I did not call up my friends because I was more or less paralyzed by the fear-inspiring question I so often have when I contemplate reaching out to others: how long is too long to have any hope of reconnecting? Is six months too long? Is a year?”

I guess hypothetically there may be a time that is too long, but if so, I have not yet encountered it. In the last couple of years, I reconnected with two people, both of which I had not seen in almost 35 years. In both cases I’ve been in electronic communication and had the ability to get together for a meal when I visited the town in which each lived. My re connection with both fills me with joy.

Some years ago, I got back in touch with some grade school friends. Before the reunion that reconnected us, I had not talked to some of that group for almost 30 years. Yet, now, we have occasional dinners when I’m in town and communicate electronically in between those visits.

What the author of the blog post I read realized is true. Worry about whether it has been “too long” is something that “robs me of meaningful interactions with others.” In his blog, he describes a wonderful visit with some old friends, having overcome his fear that it had been “too long.” I have a sense from my own experience what that was like for him.

Not having any interest in getting in touch with people of one’s past is understandable. There are plenty of people from earlier parts of my life I have no desire to reengage with. But to fear getting in touch with people you would like to be able to see is a different matter.

Get over the fear. It is not too long.

Update: As my friend Floyd reminds us in a Facebook comment to this post: “Not too long for God, either. The welcome is always there, no matter the length of time you’ve been away.”