Friday, November 1, 2013

a visit means more than a text

One of the things I admire about my mother is that she gets involved in other people's lives.

Now that she doesn't have children at home, and is working less, on her way to retirement, she could use her extra time for herself. Instead, she uses much of it for others.

She helps out at the local primary school. She looks after an elderly lady in a local nursing home. She cares for her brothers and sisters. She visits the sick.

She's like those older women - the Bible calls them "widows" (which my mum is not, but I think it's a similar stage of life) - who use their time and energy to serve (1 Tim 5:9-10; Acts 9:36-42). I hope to be like her one day.

Here's a story that encouraged me to get involved too.

It's about a friend of my mum's who lives a long way from her family.

Mum had just received a message from her friend to say her sister had died.

My mother wasn't far away: she was driving near her friend's house. It would have been easy to send a text and go home.

But that's not what she did.

She went and sat with her friend that morning. She hugged her and listened and shared her sorrow.

Her friend said,

"You know, there were lots of people who sent their sympathy via emails and text messages. But you came. You visited.

"That meant more to me than all of those texts put together."

In these days of emails and texts and instant messaging, it's so easy to contact someone and think we've done what needs to be done.

But I hope, next time I'm in a situation like this, that I remember: a visit means more than a text.

If we can, we just need to be there.


Meredith said...

I love this. Hooray for your mum. I think it is a salient reminder. Although I have to say, again I think it comes down to knowing the person because I'm pretty sure that in my own case, were that me, I'd love the 100 text messages and then to be left alone. But it is a cautionary tale because we err too much in the other (digital) direction these days.

So I have taken the liberty to attach this to my summary of this month's writing prompt on my blog. You may be writing (or planning to write) something else for the prompt - no pressure but press on if you are - but I thought this caught a moment in the issue, even so.

Jean said...

Hi Meredith,

Yes, I agree. We have to love people in the way that is best for them. Sometimes this means not visiting, or limiting the length of our visits (e.g. if someone has just had a baby). I guess part of the situation in this post was that this lady was on her own, far from family.

On the other hand, there's a lot to be said for the old practice of going and "sitting" with someone who has just suffered a great loss.

Or something practical and helpful, like making sure they are provided with easy meals to eat.

But, as you say, technology makes it all too easy for us to avoid people altogether and feel like we've done our bit - when even a hand-written card would be far more meaningful.

I have been guilty of this more times than I care to remember.

Love Jean.