Remember the days of old, consider the years of many generations. Ask your father, and he will show you; your elders, and they will tell you. Deuteronomy 32:7
The days of our lives are seventy years; and if by reason of strength they are eighty years, yet their boast is only labor and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away. Psalm 90:10
Listen to your father who begot you, and do not despise your mother when she is old. Proverbs 23:22
I have been blessed to spend the last few days in Western Arkansas with my grandmother and extended family. This was a trip that has been on my heart for some time. I have not seen this part of my family since my mother’s funeral in 2020. And before that, my girls who are now grown with children of their own, were little the last time I made this trip.
I’ve been thinking of how we become detached and out of touch with those who we should be closest to. It shouldn’t be that way. We allow the busyness of life to keep us from what is most important. Yesterday, I picked up my grandma and as we went up the mountain to a family gathering, I listened to her talk endlessly about her childhood and her years as a young mother. I listened to her reminisce about the “old house place” as she calls it. Some of these stories I have heard before but some were new or there were added details I had never heard.
After we left my aunt’s cabin, we took a short drive up the mountain to the old house place. Bordering Grandma’s property, is an old country church and cemetery. She took her time walking around the graves saying each name and telling me the story of that family or that person. This truly got me thinking about how we all have a story to tell and sometimes we just need someone to hear it. We all have the need for someone to listen even if they’ve heard it a dozen times before.
A lot of these people were born, lived their whole life, and died on that mountain; and the only thing to mark that they even were there is a flat stone with their name scratched on it. Many of the graves in the cemetery were unmarked or just had a small stone to show where they were buried. Does anyone know their story?
Over the last few years, my husband’s side of the family helped us to take care of my father-in-law who had dementia. He would tell the same stories over and over and over again. It was hard sometimes to listen as if it was the first time you had ever heard it. I realized that there was a deep need for him to tell his story to someone who cared enough to listen. After he passed away, I began to talk to other family members about his stories and found out he told different stories to different people and we have now shared those with each other completing a bigger picture. It seemed there was a reel playing in his head and it was on repeat. We took turns going to be with him and everyone had a set day so you would generally get the same stories in the loop. The point is, he needed to tell it no matter how many times you had heard it. It was the first time for him.
We were created for community.
We need each other.
There is a lesson to be learned.
With age there is wisdom.
Is there a family member or older person in your life that has a story to tell? Are you needing to share your story with the younger generation?
I want to encourage you to take the time to listen to that loved one or draw that child in close and share your story.
Don’t let that experience and wisdom be forgotten.
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