I have always tended to be a loner. Growing up, I was a solitary person, and even now, though I am better about it, I often keep to myself. I’m not good about calling people either. I painfully admit that I cannot remember the last time I called my own mother. I try to call my dad at least once a week, but I find that even this is difficult for me to do. I don’t expect people to call me, and so I don’t really think twice about calling other people unless I have something to ask or tell them. I know people that call their parents every day and talk to them for a long time, and I it is hard for me to fathom what could be so important. When I write I tend to be verbose, but when it comes to conversation, it is often difficult for me and I find I have little to say.
This Thanksgiving my cousin exhorted the rest of us to call my grandmother. She is elderly, alone, and often sad and lonely. My aunt used to work part time from home, and she had more time to spend with Grandma, but things have changed. My cousin has kids that keep her busy, and the rest of us are spread about the state or country. Since I have never been good about communicating, distance doesn’t make it any easier.
I know I should call my family members more often – especially my parents and grandmother. My dad and grandma are alone most of the time, and I could do a lot to make them feel better if only I called and spent 10 or 15 minutes chatting. It is something I definitely need to work on. I need to set aside some time – like I do for the Lord and cultivate those important relationships. Even though we are different, with little in common, I think it would be a example of Christ in my life and show my love for them.
It seems to me that in America older generations are forgotten, cast off, or neglected. We take our old people and put them in nursing homes. Sometimes this is necessary, but I wonder what our society would look like if we returned to a culture of respecting our elders, taking care of them at home… American culture in general treats the elderly as worthless, when they are the ones with wisdom and knowledge to share with us. We can learn so much from them, if we took the time to care for them and cultivate relationships. When I think on this, I do not want to be counted as one who neglected the family that raised me.
So I encourage you all, as I work on this myself, to call your grandma, your grandpa, your mom and dad – who ever may be lonely and in need. Make time for them. Set them as a priority in your life. See what you can learn from them. And experience the work of Christ in these relationships – even if it may be difficult.
Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God has commanded you, that your days may be long, and that it may be well with you in the land which the LORD your God is giving you. Deu 5:16