As 24 year old Annie stood at work bored and waiting for the close of her shift at the local mall to end, she thought the next hour couldn’t come soon enough. Snow was supposedly swirling outside with the anticipation of another few inches and all she could think about was curling up at her apartment in front of a movie and being off her feet. These long evenings with little chance of customers in the store left her drained. With no one to talk to, time seemed to stand still. She desperately needed something to keep her mind occupied on these slow nights. Too bad there was no Wi-Fi she could connect to so she could surf the net.
“Oh, I know Mom will be at home!” she thought. “I’ll just give her a call.”
Michelle was tired after a busy day. As was typical of their evenings, she and Mitch along with their 17 year old were settled in for one of their favorite shows. It was the way they unwound each evening. Something Michelle particularly looked forward to. Sitting in her favorite chair with a cup of cinnamon tea, Michelle was engrossed in the happenings on the screen. Breaking into the silence, the phone rang.
“Mom, do you have to answer it?” Cadie whined. “Why does someone always call when we’re in the middle of a show?”
“Cadie, it will only take a minute. Pause the show, I need to take this.”
“Hi, Mom! What are you up to?” Annie asked
“Just watching TV with Dad and Cadie.”
“I just called. It is so boring here. No one is in the mall!”
“I’ll bet. It’s really starting to come down out there. Is there something really important that you need? If not, we’ve got about 10 minutes left in our show. Can I call you back then?”
“Sure. Just call me on my cell.”
As the TV program came to an end, Michelle picked up the phone to return Annie’s call.
“Hi, honey. Any more customers?”
“No. These evenings never seem to end. I hate it when I’m here ’til close by myself.”
And the conversation continued…
Michelle seemed to add little to the conversation. Just saying “un-huh” occasionally seemed to do the trick.
At 8:50, Annie finally looked at the clock. “Oh, it’s almost time to close. I’ll talk to you later. Bye.”
As Cadie came down the stairs to get a snack before bed she asked, “Mom, why do you spend so much time with Annie on the phone?”
“Because she is lonely, Cadie. Sometimes it is tough to be her age with life being so drastically different than when she was in school. Friend’s work schedules don’t always line up with hers. If you are like Annie, you live all alone in your apartment. If you have a job like her, sometimes you get a shift all by yourself. On nights like tonight, no one darkens the door of the store because of the weather. This is when I want to be here for her. Yeah, I know it interrupted our TV show for a few minutes. But I made sure she knew that we were busy. I didn’t want to spoil my time with you if she didn’t have something urgent that needed taken care of. That’s why I agreed to call her back. You know, I want to be Annie’s friend now and sometimes friends are just there to listen.”
“Yeah, guess you’re right, Mom. At least I know when it’s my turn, you’ll be there for me.”
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.
Sometimes our 20-Somethings just need us to be there for them. Whether it is just listening when they need a friend or someone to help them with a problem, sometimes knowing that you will allow them to vocalize their frustrations in a safe place is all they need. When others in your home get interrupted by older siblings, be sure to acknowledge that their time with you is important too.
Dare you to just be there to listen to your 20-somethings, even when it isn’t necessarily convenient for you.
“Let go…and let God”,