A Closeness I Can’t Relate To

Our pastor and his two adult children have built houses almost within spitting distance of one another, and that seems to work well for them. My daughter’s in-laws are living with them, and I assume that’s working out okay. I can think of several couples who’ve moved to be closer to their grown children, and they’re undoubtedly thrilled at being that close.

I definitely don’t mean to sound critical of any of those situations. I’m simply admitting that I don’t understand that kind of family closeness because I can’t relate to it.

I grew up an only child, and my parents reared me to be fiercely independent. They soon realized they’d exceeded their expectations. After college, I lived about two hundred miles from my parents for sixteen years, and I didn’t move to Richmond to be near them, but because that’s where I’d finally found the kind of job I wanted at the place where I’d long wanted to work–the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention.

I didn’t normally see them more than once every couple of weeks and rarely talked to them on the phone. We loved one another, of course, but they had their lives and my wife and I had ours.

I suppose my lack of understanding of the situations I described above is based in part on thoughts about the summer when my first wife and I realized the sales job I’d just gotten wasn’t going to work out. We ended up driving nine hundred miles to spend the rest of the summer with her family.

I’m not sure that feeling the need to do that bothered me consciously at the time, but I realize now how I sacrificed my independence for the sake of expediency. At least it was only temporary.

Don’t get me wrong. As the grandfather of two little boys and the step-grandfather of another, all of whom live quite some distance away, I regret not being able to see them more frequently. But those two sets of parents have their own lives, and we’re careful not to interfere.

That would be more difficult if we lived extremely close to one another.

I’m always tickled at the thought of couples moving to be closer to family only to have their family move elsewhere shortly after that. I can’t say I’ve known of that actually happening, but it could–and it probably has.

When God said a man should leave his mother and father and cling to his wife–I’ve always believed that to be equally true of wives–I think He really hit the God-sized nail on the head. Husband and wife must come first. That seems to be true in the cases I mentioned earlier.

What about you? What are your thoughts on this? How about leaving a comment.

I’ll be back again next Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

Best regards,
Roger

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2 thoughts on “A Closeness I Can’t Relate To

  1. I have lived near my parents most of my life, with the exception of 3 years my husband and I served as missionaries in rural Montana. I am the youngest of 3, with two older brothers. My mom had a need to be near family. My grandparents lived either near or with us all of my life. There are advantages that outweigh the disadvantages. I wish I lived nearer to my daughter and her kids. I remember how wonderful it was to have my grandparents as a part of my life growing up.

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