Point #1-- Over the years my sister and I have been fairly good at communicating, despite not having lived in the same city for about 10 years. She is one of my best friends and I always felt connected to her. Our relationship definitely strengthened this past summer as she lived with me for 3 months. Now, however, she's involved in a study abroad in Australia, and basically doesn't communicate with anyone ever. You might suggest "Oh, she's just out having way too much fun". Whatever. I did a study abroad too, and had oodles amounts of fun, and still managed to write daily to at least someone in my family. Now, obvious to anyone who actually knows my family, I am the only one who actually is decent at keeping in contact with people (just ask me how much I enjoyed letter/package/email days in the mission...or better yet don't). I definitely didn't expect her to write everyday. But once a week perhaps? Or if that was too much to ask, a few short lines once a week, and then every other week a more detailed account of life in Australia. Or at least pictures posted to facebook. But alas. Nada. Which is uber unfortunate, because to anyone I have ever talked to that has gone on a study abroad (including myself), has mentioned their study abroad experience as one of the most life changing experiences of their life. So there my sister is, out becoming a different person, having amazing experiences, growing, trying new things, learning new points of view, etc, etc, and no one in my family will ever know. Because she is out there changing, she is becoming more and more of a different person everyday, and without a steady flow of communication, she is becoming more and more of a stranger ever day. Of course, in 3 more months when she comes back, we'll have all the time in the world to talk, but still, I feel like there are so many opportunities to grow together now, as these changes and marvelous experiences are happening.
Point #2-- In this past General Conference, while Elder Perry was talking, he mentioned that we should have more spiritual conversations with our families. Clearly in my family, we all live so far apart from each other that this really never happens. But as I was thinking about this, I realized that while there are limitations to communication based on our living situations, we still can have family spiritual discussions. Every single one of us live alone (except for Taylor and Jessi of course), and none of us probably have the opportunity to have very many spiritual conversations. So I decided to start a once a month email discussion where if one so desired, they could share an experience they had in the past month that strengthened their testimony. I thought I was being especially clever because I CC'd my inactive father on the email, so therefore he would also get all of these emails from the rest of the family and maybe eventually he would start to ponder spiritual happenings in his life. So, in response to my first email, where I explained what I wanted to do and then shared my own experience, I got silence from 3/5 of my family. Not even, "That's an interesting idea, let me think about it for a minutes". The first to respond with a spiritual experience they had? My inactive father. So, does the rest of my family hate the idea? Do they like it but are busy at the moment? Are they uncomfortable sharing with others? How the heezy should I know???
Point #3-- I've been applying to graduate schools in England. And while it's still too early to hear back about any final decisions, the various schools and centralized applications systems have been excellent and keeping me updated. They all sent me at least one email, if not more, or even a couple letters in the mail, saying they got my application, etc. Every single time I get an email or letter, it thrills me to no end even though I already know it's just a basic confirmation letter, which really isn't necessary because I already know they have my application. But still, they know I exist, and have communicated the fact to me. And it thrills me.
Point #4-- The Bible Dictionary states, under the heading of prayer, that “As soon as we learn the true relationship in which we stand toward God (namely, God is our Father, and we are his children), then at once prayer becomes natural and instinctive on our part. Many of the so-called difficulties about prayer arise from forgetting this relationship. Prayer is the act by which the will of the Father and the will of the child are brought into correspondence with each other. The object of prayer is not to change the will of God, but to secure for ourselves and for others blessings that God is already willing to grant, but that are made conditional on our asking for them. Blessings require some work or effort on our part before we can obtain them. Prayer is a form of work, and is an appointed means for obtaining the highest of all blessings.” Prayer, or communication with our Father in Heaven, is natural when we understand our relationship to Him. It is when we become casual in our communicating with Him that we distance ourselves from Him.
We can only maintain a proper relationship when we have proper communication, no matter with whom we are trying to form or strengthen a relationship with. Communication has definitely been a weakness of mine in the past, so after pondering these few experiences in my life, I’m going to try to be better at communicating with all people in my life.