I met an 86-year-old man in Sams Club yesterday afternoon. While explaining to him what an Amazon Alexa was, I was able to hear all about how greatly the Lord had blessed him this holiday season. He had several children, even more grandchildren, and 16 great grandchildren (the oldest of which is my age). After a few hysterical dad jokes and a huge smile on both of our faces, we continued on with our shopping.
I met a family at church on Christmas Eve with two grandparents accompanied by a set of young parents and an adorable four-year-old girl. You could tell they all just enjoyed being together for the holidays. They were so excited to be celebrating Christmas with a huge community of people that were hooting and hollering about the birth of Jesus.
When I’m at home you can catch me at least once a week in my local coffee shop ordering my regular… hot chocolate. To be completely honest, I hate coffee but I love the people coffee shops bring in. Students, older generations, and young moms mostly. I love people watching. I love the happy atmosphere. I love starting conversations. I sat next to these two sweet old ladies in Starbucks this morning. They were laughing, sharing stories, and just absolutely overjoyed to be in each other’s presence. One of them was in town visiting family and the other was still local. They had been best friends for four decades. That’s the child of friendship I want to cultivate. Through distance, time, and whatever life through at them they were each other’s constant. I don’t know much about them, I had a five minute conversation with them but through that I was encouraged by the hope of many lifelong friendships to come.
In a world that only publicizes the scary, I’m comforted by the reassurance that there are most definitely still genuinely good people all around us.
There is so much we can learn from older generations today about being relational. It’s not a secret that millennials/Gen Z struggle building relationships. Older generations aren’t consumed by technology, they don’t pencil in the ones they love into their crammed outlook calendars, they make eye contact, and they ask a lot of questions.
I do this a lot. You know, talk to random strangers… exactly what every parent tells you not to do. But I can’t help it, I’m a sucker for a good conversation with a random soul with a kind heart. I ask this question a lot, “What is something you wish you would’ve known or done more when you were my age?” (10/10 would suggest because older people love to give advice & they are very wise.) The most common answer I get from these random strangers is that they have learned through the years to value relationships over everything. Seems so obvious, right…
Everyone has a story. Even if you cross their path for just a moment, you can get a glimpse of that. Ask questions, make eye contact, be intentional. Never forget the power in that fact that, interactions are important, people matter, and one conversation can change the course of your whole day.