This is what we do for the joy of the King,
For His peaceable Kingdom,
For a world in despair.
And this is why we bring any hope we can give,
Any bread from the table,
Any touch of His hand.
This is what we do.
This is where we go.
This is why we sing.
This is how we live.
This is who we are.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Lost Art of "Visiting"

Last week Diane Davis was in town visiting a lot of her friends from Orange County--many of whom were in school with her at PCC/Hope. In addition to their PCC friendship, she has been one of Kristi's blog buds since Kristi started blogging last year. Even before I started my own blog, I would check out (stalk?) Diane's blog when I read Kristi's. Then, when I cranked up my own blog in January, Diane responded to a couple of my posts--I think the first one was about an Anne Lamott book I'd quoted.

Anyway, when Diane was here in the O.C. she went out of her way to squeeze Lyn and me into her busy "visiting" schedule.  I thought that was so neat.  And it got me to thinking.  In our frantic-paced culture today, sitting down with friends for a period of conversation with no agenda is basically unheard of.  Who sits down with a neighbor to chat?  Who, besides your family, ever plops down on a living room chair?  Do we have to officially "entertain" people to have those kinds of experiences?  

Even as cool as our visit with Diane was, it was still somewhat governed by an agenda: "meeting Kristi's parents" in the midst of her very busy trip itinerary. (Meeting again, actually--she'd been in our home years before, but Kristi and Jennifer had so many friends in and out of the house over the years, it was hard to keep track of them all.)  Agenda or not, the visit with DD was great.

I remember as a kid when friends just "popped in" for no reason.  Just to sit and talk a while, maybe watch some TV (black & white), or play some Monopoly.  I even loved being at my Grandma's house and getting to know all her senior-citizen pals.  Some of those old ladies had amazing stories to tell.  Some of her old-men friends could spin some tall tales in addition to lamenting about the woes of the world--and the Kennedy-Nixon debates!

But it wasn't just old folks that "visited."  It was a part of the culture of the 50s and 60s.

Of course, we're much more sophisticated these days with our cellphones, instant-messaging, and mind-boggling schedules.  I just regret that we don't get to just spend time with each other. When Diane sat with us in the living room that afternoon, simple face-to-face, non-electronic conversation just happened.  Way cool.

I guess the cultural absence of sit-down-for-a-spell visiting is why blogging is such an interesting (and satisfying) phenomenon to me. Not only are people preserving their thoughts in writing, but it's almost like having a real conversation--minus eye-contact.  (Especially the comments.  Raves, too.)  I suppose that's why I wrote what I did yesterday.

In addition to blogging, I would suggest that we look for opportunities for our living room sofas to become acquainted with the backsides of people outside our families.  On-the-fly, unscheduled living room ("parlor") visiting can really be a heady experience. If you get a chance, try it!  Meanwhile, PLEASE keep blogging!!!


Diane Davis said...

You and Lyn are welcome on our sofa anyday! It was fun visiting last week... I really do wish we had more time to chat. And I'm quite proud to be the example in your blog, too. :)

I like what you say in theory, but if someone knocked on my door I would be afraid the house isn't cleaned up enough and probably wouldn't invite them in. Sad, but true.

You are right, this is about culture. Because in Kenya or small town Oregon, not everything had to be scheduled. You just pointed out a way that I have bought into mainstream culture without realizing it! Ugh.

BTW... I have no idea how to cook beets. My mom used to serve them out of the can. I only order them at restauraunts. I didn't even know you could eat the greens too!

Don said...

Well, I'm sure my INFP/J idealism is blowing the whole concept out of reason--to a degree. I'm sure the 50s and 60s weren't as idyllic in this regard as I portrayed them. If they'd had cellphones, webcams, and email back then, things would have been a lot different, I'm sure. Still, it doesn't hurt to get out of our gadgety, electronic comfort zones from time to time.

I'm looking forward to my upcoming trip to Venezuela. I imagine there's a lot more "visiting" that goes on there than here.

Diane Davis said...

That's funny... we are opposites... I am an ESTJ. But sometimes I test as a feeler too, depends on when the test catches me.

When are you going to south america? I'll be looking forward to blog updates about that!

discomommy said...

I grew up in CA...there is no such thing as a drop in visit here. When I started going to Indiana with Jon, I was always in confused by the fact that you didn't call before going to visit friends and relatives. you just went. The first few times I would be embarrassed and apologetic for not calling. It simply isn't an issue there. Now I love it!

I too wish our society was more like that. When i am home I am mostly in my comfy house clothes (I would wear a housecoat if I weren't still in my 30's!), but I still get excited when someone stops by. It is usually to drop something off or return something borrowed, nonetheless, I invite them in and wish we could make a visit out of it. Sadly most people I know also grew up in CA and would never consider staying without having called first.

If I knew where you lived Don, I would stop by today! We could talk sports and weather for no reason at all!

Don said...

Isn't it don't even know where I live, Gina. We'll have to fix that!

Your grandma (nana) reminds me a lot of the type of women (and their husbands) that frequented my Grandma's house. Lots of stories, lots of history, lots of opinions. They just oozed entertaining information.

Uh we can talk sports dialogue would be seriously limited. However, my new Sprint Instinct phone has all the data any human would ever need regarding any sport. If you wouldn't mind me referencing the phone every couple of minutes, we could chat sports.

I DID learn about an amazing play that happened in the Angels game yesterday in the 9th inning thanks to Sprint! :)

Don said...

Reader, that Diane is clever...her BTW comment on beets above was a clever ploy--a teaser, as it were--to get you to check HER blog post on beets yesterday! Smart! :)

(It was a cool post...DO read!) :)

Sarah B. said...

I totally agree Don. When we moved back here to CA we were always thinking of reasons to have people over...."ok, lets have a house warming party....we've lived here awhile now so we need a St Patricks Day party....ok, is someone's birthday coming up or something to get us together?" And than we would have to get our calenders out and plan like weeks ahead of time...pretty sad. The one thing I have noticed is that EVERYONE puts too much "stuff" into too little time. In Missouri we had lots of free time and we got here and got sucked into the "what can we do to fill our time." Brandon and I have talked about reducing the activities we get ourselves and the kids into and make it more about relationships....but than all the people we want to have relationships with fill their time with "stuff". It's just so hard especially here in Southern is different out in the midwest..for sure.

Sarah B. said...

I did forget to admit that one time our house was TRASHED and someone stopped by to say hi and once they left I was like "Really..who does that anymore, and now they know our house is a disaster...they should have called first." The one plus to that is whenever that person comes over I don't run around trying to pretty the place up

johnsonandjohnson said...

This isn't about visiting, but glad to see that we made it to your pictures on the right!

Don said...

It's pretty lame when somebody neglects to post pics of one of his kids, 2 sons-in-law, and 3 grandchildren on the sidebar of his blog. I been planning to update pictures there anyway, but when it came to my attention that what I had was so lopsided, I really felt dumb. Sorry Jennifer, Brian, Curtis, Haley, Lexi, and Emily.

Kristi said...

Funny. I love when people come by. I'm ALWAYS embarrassed by the house, but I have 2 kids...and Curtis and I are also messy, so what can you do. When we moved to this house, I was so sad because it is not as big to have everyone over like we did in the last place. We truly enjoy conversation, watching tv, playing games, hanging out with ANYONE...with no agenda....

So hear this...whoever is reading this...if you don't mind our small little place, please come over...any time.

discomommy said...

Kristi-at 8pm last night I went for a bike ride. When I got by Target I almost called Jon to get your address so I could see the new place. Then I remembered my in-laws were waiting for me at the house. So i went home. But now that you've said it, I might be popping in!

Jon in HB said...

What Gina forgot to mention, was that when she got back from her bike ride she and my parents and I sat on front porch and 'visited' for awhile. We have two great chairs on our front porch, but when a couple of Hoosiers are in town, that's what you do.

Don said...

Ah...the front porch. I LOVE those. Lyn and I had one in Tennesse--complete with a swing. It was so wonderful to sit out there in the summer and watch folks walk by...sometimes they'd just come up the sidewalk and join us for some end-of-the-day conversation. It was so great. (When I was a kid in FL, we didn't have a porch--just a huge oak tree in the front yard--served the same purpose!

Don said...

Uhh....we didn't sit IN the tree...but under it!

Roni said...

Hey, we actually had drop-in visitors tonight!! Jim Holme and his family (Beth, CJ and new six-month-old baby Abbie) stopped by since they are in town visiting from their home in Huntsville, Alabama!! Wow! CJ was one of my little Cub Scouts when I was a den leader, and now if I closed my eyes, I would swear it was Jim talking!! What a special treat to have a drop-in visit from old friends!!!