Long Distance Relationships

We have to physically be together if she's going to be a "help"
We have to physically be together if she's going to be a "help"

The Need for Proximity

An assistance dog is not a “help”, if they aren’t actually WITH their partner. Chloe alerts me to sounds I don’t hear, and provides balance support as well as I have Meniere’s. When Chloe is with me, I don’t feel as “deaf” or as “helpless” when I drop things. She makes me feel more “normal” in providing things I cannot do for myself.

I do not utilize Chloe’s skills every single time we go out into public. I may be with my family, and they are always eager to help if needed. Chloe can alert me to a sound, but she cannot tell me what it is unless she can look at or “touch” what made the sound. So sometimes it is NICE to be able to tell Chloe heard something, but ask a family member what it is she is hearing. If I left Chloe at home on the assumption “I may not need her”, I risk several things:

1) What if I do split up from my group and am alone? I cannot hear environmental sounds well, and I may drop things.

2) What is Chloe to think? Is she a working dog whose job is to be by my side, or is she a pet? If she isn’t allowed to alert even when I am with people who hear well, I risk “turning off” that alert. She has to be allowed to work, and she can’t do that home in her crate.

3) I risk weakening the bond a working dog MUST have with their human partner. Chloe has to know that she can count on me to keep her safe, in order to have this over-riding sense of responsibility and love that she feels to alert me to things I cannot hear, or pick up things I drop. She has to practice her skills.

I cannot have a “long-distance” relationship with Chloe if I want a working dog that actually performs skills I can utilize and maintain my independence. For this relationship, proximity is key. She has to be with me even on trips that appear she isn’t actually doing anything for me. A working dog “works”… regardless of whether or not their partner has “other assistance” to lean on when they are in public.

Long-distance Relationships

I know a young couple who have entered into a relationship, and they don’t actually live in the same town. Some people may think that long-distance relationships can never work. I have a different opinion, and I suppose it has much to do with the day in which we live.

Technology not only allows people to touch base daily, but to do so through various means. Phone calls have never been easier, and texts can be sent even if only to say “thinkin’ about ya!” Visual technologies that include web cams, SKYPE and other programs, allow people to literally SEE each other every day.

Certainly “proximity” is important. However, if a couple strives to find opportunities to be together as much as possible, long-distance relationships can work for pre-determined amounts of time. The key is the commitment.

Is God Long-Distance?

I suppose if one had to argue the importance of proximity to a meaningful relationship, you might assume that having a close relationship with God is impossible. I meet people from time to time who believe that God is in Heaven, and “how can HE even know what is going on with me, let alone care?”

However, God is not “stuck” in Heaven. God is not in one place and one place only; nor, can anyone hide from Him because He is everywhere (Jeremiah 23:23-24). Psalm 139 beautifully reminds us that God is “everywhere”. “I can never escape from Your Spirit! I can never get away from Your presence! If I go up to heaven, You are there; if I go down to the place of the dead, You are there.”

As a matter of fact, God is as close as the believer. When I send out an SOS or, simply wish to discuss something with my heavenly Father, I do not feel like I’m racking up long-distance minutes. When I invited Him to be my own personal Lord, He promised to actually come and dwell IN me. (1 Corinthians 3:16).

My faith is important to me. In order to keep my “bond” with God strong, I can’t “leave Him at home when I go out into public. I may not even need Him, in any true measurable way as we see it when I go out each time. But if I pretend like He’s not there with me, I’ve left Him at home.

Don’t Crate God

There are two primary reasons I choose to “bring God with me” in a manner that I acknowledge His presence. First of all, because my faith IS important to me, how will others know what makes me “tick” if my TICKER isn’t with me? If I leave God at home when I go out, how will others ever see Him living in me? It helps me to literally acknowledge His presence. I leave the house and know I’m not alone. There isn’t “just a hound dog” by my side. Acknowledging that reminds me to be a “God mirror”. When others look at me, my desire is that they also see the God whom I love.

Secondly, by not “leaving God at home”, it reminds me that I can talk to Him all day, and at any time. I certainly take advantage of opportunities to really bow my head in a quiet place, and close my eyes to pray. But truthfully, most of my prayers are when my eyes are wide open, and I’m just out “living life”. I suppose Chloe would think I’ve lost my marbles as I often even pray out loud. She is accustomed to my talking to her, so if I happen to be talking to God instead she doesn’t mind the conversation.

I’ve heard some people complain that they can’t “touch” God. He isn’t “that kind” of relationship. Perhaps those most affected by this thinking are those whose “love language” is physical touch. My rebuttal is that if you have not felt God’s “touch”, something is wrong with your relationship. You must have left Him at home in a crate, or your “web cam” to God (His word) is dusty and rarely used. God does “touch” me each and every day, but it’s because I choose to take Him with me.

Denise Portis

© 2009 Hearing Loss Journal

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2 thoughts on “Long Distance Relationships

  1. Cool post. I actually believe all our relationships are long-distance and near-distance, quantum physics, all time (past/present/future) is NOW time, and you are me, I am you, God is each and everyone of us … we are working, practicing our skills constantly, whether it’s the skill of communication, ease, peace, alerting and knowing, or the skills of dis-ease, dis-chord, lessening our abilities to “alert” … whether to ourselves, one another, or our assistance dog… yikes too long-winded, (Kim, get your own BLOG!) Grin! I think your posts are always thought-provoking Denise. Thank you for taking the time in your life, to bring us all in-to proximity with you … (and Chloe!) Happy Sunday!

  2. “When others look at me, my desire is that they also see the God whom I love.”… YEP, m’lady, I see a clear and bright, high resolution pic!
    Love that Chloe girl for me! –Lisa

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