“Mom, are we going visiting at Uncle Art and Aunt Gertrude’s house tonight?”
That could have been my question on any Friday afternoon when I was a child. The names of my aunts and uncles changed each week, but the plea was the same.
We lived in the country with no close neighbors that had children, but my parents came from large families so I had an abundance of aunts and uncles and cousins.
There was never any visiting on weeknights but when Friday arrived, I knew we would probably go to visit at one of their homes.
My Uncle Art’s house was a favorite because many times, he would make ice cream in a hand-cranked freezer.
The older cousins would turn the handle while the rest of us ran around catching lightning bugs or playing tag or hide-and-go-seek. The adults would visit.
The formal definition of the word ‘visit’ can be a verb or a noun. The noun would describe a visit to the doctor or dentist. Those are things we have to do.
However, the definition of the verb…go to see and spend time with (someone) socially: pay someone a visit…describes something that is voluntary and I believe is slowly becoming a thing of the past.
I realize there are many reasons for this. We are all much busier than we used to be. Many days, if someone stopped unexpectedly for a visit, no one would be home.
The majority of today’s visiting is done on social media, in texts and emails and occasionally, we actually speak to someone on our phones.
Relatives aren’t good at the visiting agenda, either. My adult children and grandchildren stop by if they need to pick something up, or drop something off but to sit down and have a conversation just for the sake of chatting a bit, is a rarity.
At the risk of being labeled as terribly old-fashioned, I would like to think people still crave the ‘sit down and talk for a while’ kind of visiting. I recently attended a county fair.
As I walked around, I saw groups of people at tables, among the displays, in the barns…all talking, laughing and enjoying each other’s company. It was delightful. I would wager that some of them had not visited with each other since the previous year.
Visiting is a way to connect with people we know or may have recently met. It doesn’t involve anger or stressing our own agendas. It should be a means of relaxing, asking about each other’s lives and various activities.
Yesterday, I had lunch with a friend of many years. We don’t see each other too often so we had a lot of catching up to do. It was several hours of peaceful enjoyment.
Jesus visited his friends, Mary, Martha and Lazarus, when he was in the vicinity of Bethany. The Bible recounts some of those teaching times, but they were his friends and I’m sure there were many times when he just dropped by for a visit.
Try to make time to visit a neighbor (even if only for a few minutes while you’re both in your yards) or take a few minutes to visit with friends or visitors after church, invite someone over for a glass of iced tea.
Your house doesn’t need to be spotless; they want to see you, not your cleaning abilities.
Visiting doesn’t need to be stressful or time-consuming. I have NO memories of my aunts and uncles clean or dusty homes…only the good memories of being welcomed, having fun and giggling a lot.
Gloria Doty is a published Christian author, writer and speaker. She has published a non-fiction book, a devotion book, a series of fiction romance books and several children’s picture books. Gloria has 5 adult children and 13 grandchildren. She has recently re-married and she and her husband reside in Fort Wayne, IN.