Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Phone Rings

The plans of the day changed with the ring of the phone. Can you come over?

My future daughter-in-law and I had just begun our day of shopping when the call came. A friend in trouble. A friend in tears just needing a listening ear. We went to the car.

I remember many years when I had no one to call. My husband was having mid-life crisis which ended up being my crisis as well. I had hit bottom trying to keep a family together. I had suffered humiliation, emotional desertion and was trying to be a good mother when I could hardly face each day. I had no family nearby and my closest friends had moved from Wisconsin. I was alone.

When someone moves away from their nesting place, they leave not only that which is familiar but also that which wraps around them and listens to what they hear and what they see. Our friend was in pain and hundreds of miles away from home. She called her Oregon ‘mom’.

Many call me mom and have for years. My children aren't jealous. They have always been very caring and natural helpers loving those brought into the warmth of our family. When I worked at the high school, I became close to many students who are still 'family'.

Family. The word doesn’t only apply to those in my family who have been born to it. It doesn't just apply to those who call me ‘mom’. I am part of a family called the family of mankind…..and womankind. We are the keepers of one another. Your tears are mine. Your pain is mine. Your suffering is mine.

Sometimes I think I go through life oblivious to my larger family. I do so little to feed the hungry, to care for the ill, to even see what lies around me. I talk a big game, but do I live it?

In many ways, I do. The way I listen to others, especially, my granddaughters creates ripples that spread into an ocean of humanity. There is no better gift than that we give to one another in compassion and care.

Nothing was settled in our time together, but we shared tears and listened. Perhaps some relief from pain was given and clearer vision of the future. Friendship was made even stronger and family grew.

The phone rings. Who will answer?

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