Mom was sitting on the love-seat in a pleasant mood when I arrived today. She was talking to her dear doll, Annabel, giving her a pacifier and asking her if she was cold. We chatted and sang together a bit. I asked her who her brothers were and she said, “I have about SIX of them.”
“Yep, who are they? Delbert….”
And she named them all. I told her I had three brothers and she was surprised. “Do you want to hear the names of my brothers?” I asked, hoping it might spark her memory.
“Nah,” she replied, clearly uninterested.
I cuddled up next to her and put my head on her shoulder. “I love you, Mom,” I said.
“I love you, too,” she replied sweetly. “Who are you?”
“Cheryl Lynn?” she asked, her face lighting up.
“Yep, Cheryl Lynn.”
She interacted with Annabel for a while, and then suddenly stood up, walked across the room and dropped her doll head first in the waste basket. “There,” she said. “ Dumb it! Dump it.”
She came over by me and sat down on the footstool for a few minutes, and then got very agitated, because she didn’t know how to get off it. There was no place to put her hands down. I brought a chair over and eventually she was able to get up and move back to the love-seat.
At one point we were both up walking and met in the middle of the room. She looked at me quite seriously and said, “I’m crazy. Did you know that?”
Before I left I picked Annabel up out of the wastebasket and tucked her next to Mom on the love-seat.
As I drove an errand after the visit, I thought about how many relationship lessons God just gave me. I thought about the truth, that sometimes people want to talk to you, but they don’t want to listen to what you have to say.
Most of them don’t just come out and say, “Nah!” But they make it clear enough. And there’s no point in talking to someone who’s not really listening anyway. And I reminded myself that I want to be a good listener for others.
And sometimes the people who don’t want to listen to you still tell you they love you. And maybe they do in their own way, the best they know how at this stage in their lives. Maybe they don’t know you as well as you wish they did, but there is still something in their heart that connects with yours. So, if you’re willing, you accept the amount of love they are able to share.
And sometimes people get in a spot and feel stuck. Sometimes I do, too. And isn’t it lovely when someone stays by you and tries to be helpful and says encouraging things? I want to remember to do that for others when I’m able.
And sometimes people are crazy. Sometimes sin entices people and they make poor choices and throw away relationships, or even their own children. And it’s heartbreaking and wrong and crazy, crazy, crazy. And sometimes, as family or friends, there is nothing we can do about it but pray.
But other times, maybe we can stop the crazy. Maybe we can gently say, “Did you mean to do that? Let’s stop and pray and start over.”
Maybe that’s one of the reasons God gave us loved ones. Maybe that’s one reason the Bible says over and over, “Love one another.”
And maybe as we prayerfully seek God’s wisdom, He will show us ways to restore broken relationships…ways to get the “Annabels” in our lives tucked back in close on the love-seat where they belong.