Art of visiting will last a lifetime

Miriam Nelson
News Editor

I think the art of visiting is becoming a lost art. So many people spend so much time engaged with each other electronically that they forget how to listen and respond face to face.

People will always have and express strong opinions, but when they appear in a social media post, it’s easy to make assumptions that you want to avoid someone at all costs. That certainly cuts into your visiting pool. A good face-to-face visit gives you the chance to have an actual conversation and better understand someone’s opinion or to learn why they feel that way.

I know it’s popular to have some sort of family disaster movie about events with families that fight, but I really hope that is just Hollywood hype and not a true reflection of family gatherings. I can’t imagine why anyone would want to waste time with people they don’t really like.

Weddings are a time to gather and enjoy the company of family and friends. I was fortunate to be able to attend two this year, and I am thinking about them a lot this time of year as they hopefully enjoy celebrating their first Thanksgiving and Christmas while navigating their new roles as a couple. These two couples have been together for many years, so hopefully they have their social gatherings all figured out by now, but there is still something about that first celebration as a married couple that puts a little different spin on things.

Although most people don’t immediately think of funerals as a great time to get together, when it’s a celebration of a long life well lived, it can be tonic for the souls left behind while the mourners gather together. I had two funerals this year.

My aunt Helen’s brought her five children and all but two of my cousins together for the first time in many years. Being able to catch up on lives while sharing fond memories made for a very special time for me.

Recently a friend of the family passed and even though the funeral was in Minneapolis, the burial was here. He had left the area by the time I had arrived on the scene, but his parents were my neighbors, so I got to know him and his family over the years when they came back to visit.

His parents were 20 years older than mine and his children were about 10 years younger than me, so I basically got to have three sets of memories. His siblings were all older than me and lived farther away, but visiting with my neighbor kept me current with their lives. Seeing them and their children and grandkids at the burial helped me remember the importance of gathering with family and friends.

You realize that at some point, you may never see some people ever again as time and distance take a toll on all of us. I guess that’s why I am thankful that I learned from my parents the art of visiting. Being able to relate to people — whether it’s meeting new friends or cherishing the old — only happens when you’re willing to spend some quality face time together.

As the holiday season approaches, I get excited to know I will be getting together with friends and family fully engaged in my favorite hobby — visiting.