Roughly once a month, I drive ten minutes to a home that feels a world away. As I ascend the winding road that leads to Dana’s home, my heart always hums with excitement and nervousness. Excitement because I so look forward our times together; nervousness because, even though we always chat endlessly, I always wonder what we will end up talking about and if Phin will sit still long enough so that we can finish our conversation.
I treasure my Wednesdays with Dana, much like Mitch Albom records in his Tuesdays with Morrie. We are in two completely different life stages and our day-to-day worlds could not be more different.
Dana’s house is artistic, with rock and shell collections and beautiful art neatly displayed in ever room. My house is mediocre, littered with collections of Legos and my children’s art. She provides the calm atmosphere, while I contribute a dose of lively chaos. She teaches me patience and perspective, while I introduce her to the Whip Nae-Nae and minions. We have a great partnership.
We aren’t reading a novel together or studying a book of the Bible, though we often chat about both. Although every semester I announce we will meet weekly, our visits end up being more like once a month. This is not what I thought discipleship would look like when I graduated college, but it is just what I need.
I love intergenerational friendships. They offer something that peer friendships, by their very nature, simply cannot: perspective.
I am smack in the middle of the grind that is parenting little ones where the vocation of motherhood quickly gets swallowed up by the demands and hazards of the job. Sometimes, when I look at Phin or my other boys, I see piles of laundry and patterns of sin. But when I am at Dana’s house, I am able to see him as she sees him: a source of joy and laughter and life. Up on the hill where she lives, I breath more deeply and see more clearly. I remember that this is a fleeting season, one to be enjoyed not simply endured.
Dana looks forward to our times as much as I do (at least, I think she does). Her children have grown and flown the coop and have not filled the empty nest with little grandchickies yet. I like to think that we are just prepping her for the coming chaos that she will very much welcome.
I see in Dana what I hope to be one day: a woman just as committed to discipling and the Word in her retirement years as in the days when she first encountered Christ; a woman whose home is a place of refuge and rest for those weary with the crazier seasons of life; a woman who enjoys good food and wine and beautiful art, the gifts of an insanely creative and gracious Father.
Paul’s letters to Titus and the Hebrews urge us to seek intergenerational friendships not only for our health and our mutual encouragement but more importantly, for a more full adorning and displaying of the gospel of God. Each generation has its own unique challenges and temptations; however, when we watch the lives of those who have been faithful before us, we are able to see that the gospel and our unchanging God transcend and overcome generation after generation.
It is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, grace learned and given by those who are a few fathoms ahead of us in the journey.
Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings. It is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace…Hebrews 13:7-9.