Eric has been talking in church about community and the importance of investing in three different layers of relationships: the close, intimate relationships such as family and very close friends; the typical friendships or acquaintances; and the chance meetings. I am so bad at being intentional about building and maintaining relationships. I let important events slide by without giving them the honor due.
Last weekend, I went out to lunch with my grandparents. I am so lucky to have them near. They have gone to lengths to help raise me and to support me and Rob when he was sick. I am so grateful for their influence in my life. Yet, I don’t really communicate or spend the time I want to spend with them. It takes intention, doesn’t it? It takes not letting a thought pass by without a phone call. I really value my family. My parents and grandparents. My wonderful aunts and uncles and the cousins spread halfway across the country that I’ve known since I was born. Those are special relationships.
I was just in the coffee shop reading and preparing for a paper I am about to write. A man came in with his daughter, who was in her early teens. They shared some cold coffee drinks and sat and talked about life. They had Bibles and were talking about the importance of knowing scripture and letting it resonate and sink into their minds and hearts. Then they sat and played board games together. It was beautiful. It wasn’t quick. It was intentional. His mentorship in her life will make a difference. It impressed me so much and it stuck with me. This girl will remember these precious times her dad set aside for the two of them.
We are tricked into believing that the people we love will always be around. But truly, we know deep down they won’t. The present time is the time we’ve been given. I want to be more intentional about honoring my love for my family by spending time with them and communicating with them more.
When I was at lunch with my grandparents, they told me stories about when Granddad was in graduate school. They lived in St. Louis. I loved to hear about their living situations the first year there. The first apartment was about 10x12 with a restroom that also had a clothes washer. There was a door from this room that went straight outside. They shared this with a family who lived on the other side of a cardboard divider. Grams decorated with paper curtains. A man moved in a few months later that liked to cook with garlic all the time, so they moved to a new apartment. I didn’t hear too much about this second apartment. The third one, though, was on Cabanne street in St. Louis. It was a big mansion divided into a number of apartments. It was a far cry from the tiny space they occupied earlier in the year. It had a Murphy bed that folded out of the wall and a separate dressing room and nice kitchen. Their apartment had previously been the library of the mansion. It had big, beautiful windows that looked out to the front lawn. The story went on to talk about them learning that the rest of the occupants of the house were supporters of communism. The KKK would light crosses on their front lawn and the FBI moved in to their apartment after they left so they could overhear communist radio broadcasts coming from the apartment next door.
This was the highlight of my week.