Similarities Between My Life and One in a Retirement Community
I went to visit a very dear friend in her eighties today. She is living in a retirement community which is about one step up from a nursing home. She is a good sport, but I know that she doesn't enjoy living there. We've been friends for about three years now. I used to read to her once a week (she is legally blind) and then we got to be such good friends that we talked most of our times away.
When I went away to school, my mom started reading to her. They are now at the point where they mostly talk.
Today she said something to me which hit home in a way that I didn't expect. We were talking about making friends at this place she is living (this is a fairly new step for her). She said that it was hard because you might or you might not see people again, and even if you did, they might not remember you.
I am certainly not berating my friend for choosing her own company. She is intellectual and smart as a whip. However, I have been asked for something else from the Lord. This summer is about community. In a lot of ways it has been about going back to people and places, about not walking away and feeling that you will never see someone again, but knowing that people can pop up wherever God wants them to.
He sure has a sense of humor.
Today at church I ran into an older sister and younger brother of an old friend of mine from junior high school days and a guy I semi-dated in high school. You wouldn't think that this city of 250,000 people would be so small, but it is. I'm always running into someone that I know.
It seems that the people I desperately want to remember me have a hard time, while I am easily recognizable to someone who knew me in elementary school (when I was weird). Oh wait, I guess I haven't changed that much.
It's been a challenge to go back to some of those relationships and be open to seeing and talking to these people again. Sometimes I left for geographic opportunities, but other times, I left for far different reasons.
I remember when I first got to EWU and I didn't know how I would ever know anyone there. By the end of my year there, I knew people, I could wave and see them. At Taylor, I went through the same thing: a flood of people I didn't know. I've been there now for a year and a half. Though so much of the student body has changed, it seems that I am always saying hi to people and getting and receiving hugs, "I'll call you"'s and the ever popular "we should get together." Many of these things never happen, but that is not a topic for this blog entry.
Community is hard and anyone who doesn't think so should try it for a while. Getting in is hard, so is staying in, and leaving. Oh well.
Today, two of my new friends offered to let me cook and clean for them (since I'm not doing anything else this summer). They were kidding. I hope.
As usual, this summer hasn't been like I thought it would be. I'm just trying to be obedient and walk straight ahead.
We talked today in church about the last part of the story of Gideon. It was depressing. I say this because I have been identifying with Gideon until now, and today, he took a nosedive. At the end of his story, Gideon became drunk on his power and success. He started thinking that he had done great things and built an idol that served as a snare for all of the people, including him. What a great role model.
The pastor today (a realist, not a pessimist :)) talked about how our success can really ensnare us. Mmmhmm.
I've got two months left in this summer. It is shaping up in ways I couldn't have imagined (and still can't).
I want to finish it out well.