My Jane and I visited with our long time friends Sterling and Mary Jane ftmyers 

(I didn’t take any photos on this trip so I had to go into the archives. You’d think my friends would be more sophisticated-like me!) in their winter home in Ft. Myers, Florida. We have been friends since the late 70’s and have kept in touch at Christmas and an annual get-together every summer. Now that we live in Florida we started a new tradition of meeting while our friends are wintering in The Sunshine State. We had two meals together on this over night trip and attended worship at Faith United Methodist Church in Ft. Myers. ftmyerschurch ftmyerschurch2 Keeping close to friends over the years and distance is something that requires intentional activity. Sterling and Mary Jane would not be such good friends if we didn’t purposely write at Christmas and do the work to set up our annual meal. We have made some great memories in those annual events. We actually got kicked out of one restaurant that was trying to close while we sat talking! We almost got kicked out of the restaurant we were eating in this time around, too.

Making and keeping relationships between Nations in our world is even harder to accomplish due to the many additional variables involved in the relationships. Nations have invested in each other for years to keep mutually good relationships. ftmyersnato Something called, diplomacy, is central to maintaining these necessary relationships in our world today. ftmyersleaders We haven’t maintained these relationships by verbally assaulting each other or putting each other ‘on notice’. The relationships we have around the world are fragile connections which require constant work to maintain.ftmyersnato2

We need these relationships for our own National security and economic survival. Antagonizing our allies and neighbors is not how we grow our relationship with them. Placing demands on them and accusing them of mistreating us is not how we make our own country safe. Ending the flow of immigrants into our country will not improve our Nation’s economic condition, make us safe or improve law and order. ftmyersmap (No refugee from any of the banned countries listed in the Presidents Executive Order has committed an act of terrorism in the United States since 9/11.)

Building and maintaining international relationships is hard work requiring patience for, and sensitivity to other Nation’s beliefs and traditions.

Sterling and Mary Jane have put as much effort into our friendship as My Jane and I have invested. We are still friends because we respect each other and cherish that which we think similarly about while not accusing and maligning each other where we believe differently.

Our Nation’s leaders must do the same with our friends and allies around the world.