Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Call Your Grandmother.

So yesterday I called my Grandma. She's in her eighties, and her name is Ethel, which I think is about the greatest grandma name ever. My Grandpa died recently, so she lives alone now. They were married for--get this--63 years. She was young when they married, and they had dated a bit before that, so she has long since forgotten what life was like before him. Consequently, everything she has done since he died has been brand new for her. More accurately, it's been painfully familiar and yet unsettled. She cries a lot.

I call her now and then. We don't talk about much usually. Where I am in school, what she did that day, how her health is, some cousin or other that I barely know. But according to my parents, they always know when we've chatted, because she calls my mom immediately to tell her about it. Apparently, it's about the most chipper she ever sounds.

Loneliness is a terrible thing. I know this firsthand, and my loneliness only amounts to being single at 25. I can't imagine hers. The reason it's so terrible is that we were created to be in community, with one another and with God, so that being alone too long actually stifles our potential to be fully human. God saw this immediately, of course. Even in a pre-fallen world, He knew it wasn't right that Adam be alone.

Ever wonder what religion means? There are endless debates about this, and they go back a long way. I still get into discussions (arguments) about what religion does and does not mean, and what the proper view of it should be. These can be worthwhile discussions, and I don't want to discourage them. But here's what Jesus' brother thought religion amounted to:

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.1

If there's one thing that's clear in the New Testament, it's that God's heart is with those who have no one else. With orphans and widows. If they're hurting, He's hurting. Consequently, as Christ-followers, it's our job to make life better for these people in whatever way we can, and until we start caring about this, God doesn't seem to be too impressed by much else.

So if you're wondering what religion ought to look like for you, look no further. This is the first step. Once we've mastered this one, then maybe we can get on to the discussions of buildings and worship styles and liturgy and whatnot.

Call your grandmother.

1 James 1:27 (TNIV)


  1. Great post - loneliness can be well 'lonely' sometimes but remember you are not alone He is with Us always :)