The Lost Art of “Visiting”

This past week I traveled to Florida to spend time with my aunt and uncle at their lovely beach home in Carillon Beach. I haven’t seen them much in the past two years because of COVID, so being together was a particular treat. 

For four days, we practiced the lost art of “visiting.” We would get up in the morning, fix coffee, and sit on their back porch in comfortable chairs with magazines in our lap (a book in mine). We would talk for a little while, sit in silence for a little while, and then talk again and then silence again. We passed whole days this way, simply being together and enjoying one another’s presence and company.

When I think back to my life before the pandemic, I remember myself as so busy with work that I’m reasonably sure I would not have allowed myself this time of simply being. I might have been physically present, but my mind would’ve been racing with all the things to do, emails to return, new ideas to generate. How much of life did I miss, I wonder?

Today, after the isolation we’ve been through, “visiting” seems like such a beautiful and simple gift. Visiting with those who have shaped us means sitting with a longer timeline of ancestors, past and present, who remind us that it’s our connection to one another that matters in the end. 

In his book, Living Philosophies, Albert Einstein notes, “Strange is our situation here upon earth. Each of us comes for a short visit, not knowing why, yet sometimes seeming to a divine purpose. From the standpoint of daily life, however, there is one thing we do know: That we are here for the sake of other people — above all for those upon whose smile and well-being our own happiness depends, for the countless unknown souls with whose fate we are connected by a bond of sympathy. Many times a day, I realize how much my outer and inner life is built upon the labors of people, both living and dead, and how earnestly I must exert myself in order to give in return as much as I have received and am still receiving.” 

I’ve always believed that we are designed by God for one another. 1 John 3:11 reminds us, “For this is the message you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.” Our seeing one another, knowing one another, caring for one another, and loving one another is THE point of life. The rest is entertainment.

If you have the chance to “visit” with someone today, I hope you say yes. It’s nice to show up for what matters in the end.

We are in this together,

Cameron

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