Every summer, my best buddy, Sheryl and I get together for a weekend of, “Gal/Pal” fun. What previously was a three-minute walk down the street as youngsters, now undergoes a grueling six-hour drive crossing two state lines. Our friendship of fifty-two years includes many transformations, from childhood, teenagers, young adults, mature adults and now seniors. We grew up knowing each other’s family. As neighbors, she and I were constantly together. We shared laughter, tears, good times and bad. We will remain friend until one of us goes home to be with the Lord.
This past winter I volunteered in the high school ministry group. I was sorry to hear many teens don’t have a friend they’ve had since third grade. The young ladies from teen group were envious of having a friend for fifty-two years. The biggest difference of then and now is when I was growing up, people just didn’t move around. Parents stayed together, bought their home, raised their children and remained in the home long after their children had children of their own. Kids knew each other, played together, went to school and graduated together. Those were the wonderful times.
Sheryl came to visit this weekend. We had a fantastic time shopping, having lunch, going to a museum, the local Farmer’s Market and Sunday Service at my local church. As we found our seats, there were two women sitting in a few seats down.
We greeted each other and shared a few pleasantries, waiting for the sermon to begin. There was something about Debbie and her mother, Jean that just felt comfortable to me. I could see the power of the Lord in both women. They were both radiant physically and spiritually. Seldom do I feel a connection with people I just meet. My personality type you could say is more of a recluse than a gregarious type. I felt the power of the Lord moving me to reach out to these ladies. I wanted to get together, have lunch and get acquainted. As I prayed, the Lord told me I should share one of my Sister Christian cards with her. I had forgotten I even had them in my purse. She was so gracious and expressed her desire to reach out to me.
As Sheryl and I said our good-byes, I told her how excited I was to get to know these ladies. Sheryl said she felt the power of the Lord in them too. I was so excited to have made a new friend while saying good-bye to my old friend.
The Lord wants us to be in relationship with others. We are one family. For those of us that have no biological living family members, our church family can be a wonderful replacement. We all have one Father and all of us are children of Christ.
I have a nephew I‘ve always thought of like my brother. He lives on the east coast and me on the west coast. Neither of us has a lot of disposable income we can spend to fly back and forth. Only because of illnesses or death of a family member on the west coast does he make it out to visit. His younger brother has begun chemo for liver cancer, so on his way to spend time with his brother, he made a stop in Idaho for a few days to spend with my husband and I. Nine months ago his father died of cancer, so we all gathered together for that reunion. A year before that, his grandmother passed away, so we spent time together then. I am always so excited to get to spend time with my nephews who I seldom see, but through the entire visit, I was competing with his smartphone. I felt I was boring him.
I feel rejected by family members or friends when they spend more time on their phone than enjoying the moment together. It takes the loss of family members to bring the rest of us together, but a small, electronic device will divide us when we occupy the same room, car, or dinner table. In my day, it was the television that took priority at meal time. Before TV, the newspaper was my grandparents escape from conversations. God made us for relationships, but have you noticed how people hide behind their screens to avoid a discussion with their spouse, children, or friend?
We are becoming people that are so self-absorbed, we’re unaware of our surroundings. One of my favorite things to do is to go camping where electronics don’t work. I love to sit and listen to the sound of nature. The breeze blowing through the leaves; the birds making joyful sounds; the frogs calling for a mate, or the sound of the creek spilling over the rocks. I take the time to appreciate God’s beautiful work and listen to His small voice. I sometimes sing praises to my Lord my God or read scripture.
This new generation has grown up with computers, cell phones, tablets, and the list goes on. I feel sad for those that can‘t appreciate the sounds of silence, a good board game with family or friends, or visiting with those who are elderly and have some wildly educational and entertaining stories to share.
I am so looking forward to heaven. Please God, don‘t let there be cell phones or computers. Amen.