Where I grew up, the corn grew high and the people popped in without notice, schedule or appointment. These visits were the warmth of my childhood — life in session and people coming and going in and out of one another’s lives and homes — connection that said community.
We belonged to one another. We lingered, chatted, cared, shared food. Children ran screaming and laughing in open spaces while adults caught up on whatever it was adults needed to say.
OVER THE RIVER AND THROUGH THE WOODS
My relatives lived in distant places. On the rare and special occasion my parents would pack our family up and we would go drive the many miles. We sang songs in the car. The complaints rang out, “She’s on my side of the line” from the back seat. We would watch telephone poles disappear in rhythm with the sky out our windows.
We spent a holiday or a special week with our family far-away. Grandma baked something delicious and my uncles all sat in their same chairs which defined mealtime throughout boyhood. We ate around that table near the sun porch as if to say, some things are worth coming home for because home never changes.
A LAST VISIT
Some visits stick out in the memory more than others. One year after I had moved west, my grandmother had to be moved into a community care home. I needed to see her. It had been too long since we had a visit.
Our budget was tight. My friend had airline miles and a heart of gold. On her gifting I flew to Florida to see my grandmother. I didn’t know this would be the last time I saw her on this earth.
She sat on the back porch of this care home, afghan draped over her lap. “Aren’t those birds singing the most beautiful song today?”
She didn’t quite know who I was, but in a gift of God moment, she knew. Her eyes filled with the softest of tears saying, “You came.” We sat listening to those birds and taking one another in for a while.
No words needed to fill the space between us as we drank one another in. I was able to hold her hand one last time.
These days my friends are all over the world: Japan, Germany, England, Rwanda, Hawaii, and even Texas. I get a little heartsick wanting to one of them for coffee, knowing it would take a full two days to reach one another.
God gave me this prayer partner. We didn’t start that way, but He grew us into sisters-by-heart. This summer I went for a visit. We spent four wonderful days in her home with her family, staying up way too late, eating more than usual, laughing, touring the town and praying.
I could have skipped that visit. I would have missed a priceless memory and the opportunity to sit, face to face, with one of the dearest people in the world to me.
Being with her reminded me. Life is too short not to make room for a visit.
This post was originally written in response to the prompt “visit” with Five Minute Fridays.