Archive for October, 2015

Friends in Space

By Kathy NickersonOctober 25th, 2015mercy4 Comments

touch screen mobile phone

When Katie lost her job, I emailed the girls immediately and asked them to pray. After all, when our daughter, Serenity, was first diagnosed with cancer, Katie stopped in at a trendy little bookstore in her Boston neighborhood to buy the perfect Jane Austen plus a candle and snuggly socks and then wrapped and shipped them in a care package.

Of course, none of us have ever met Katie.

She is real. She isn’t a character in a book or an actor in a movie. She is a fellow writer who lives with her husband in Boston, transplanted from Texas. She loves books and tea and knitting and her not-the-least-bit-trendy community of faith.

And, we feel as if we know her.

This is the power of cyber-connection. It is possible to get so involved in another person’s life through social media, blog posts, Periscopes, and the like that we feel we have actually exchanged hugs. This is both the power and the danger of technology, of course. A nefarious character could disguise himself as a Kindly Katie and do one great harm.

Take Note, Dear Reader: Never agree to meet an online friend in a private setting. Don’t go to their house. Don’t give them your address. Don’t meet in a secluded bar. Opt for daylight and lots of people. Then, bring along a real-life friend for back-up. Preferably a football linebacker or a former Navy Seal.

On the other hand, I don’t think we can simply discount these cyber relationships and say they can’t be real. My mother-in-law had a pen pal in Britain for decades. My grandfather married his first wife after meeting her in person only three times. The rest of their courtship was through letters.

I think we can figure out how to use the good power of technology to enhance our relationships and reach out to new friends we haven’t actually met. Maybe, one of the Nickerson Girls will go to Boston someday and drink tea with Katie. But even if we don’t, our lives are so much richer because we know her.

This weekend I attended a writers conference and spent intense hours with several people I only see once a year. Some of them I may never see again in earth-time. But we exchanged business cards and blog addresses. Some of us will stay in touch. We will nudge our friendships forward through cyber-connections if that is the best that we can do.

Because friendships are important. They are vital to our well-being and sacred to our souls. And they are worth pursuing even in their cyber-forms.

 

 

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For the Sake of the Little Ones

By Kathy NickersonOctober 18th, 2015mercy2 Comments

 

I’ve been working on a family tradition this week, and I got a little melancholy. Let’s be real. Some of the fun disappears when you are shopping for grandchildren’s Christmas pajamas in the Men’s Wear Department.

Our first grandchild turned sixteen this weekend. He is the starting quarterback on his football team, and he has to bend way, way down to kiss the top of my head when he says, “hello” in his deep man-voice.

Me & the QB 2015

Several of his cousins are close behind in this race to grow up. They are no longer candidates for the Christmas plaids or fluffy snowman motifs of childhood. They tend to sleep in basketball shorts.

For one, brief moment on Saturday afternoon I thought of giving up. I abandoned my online shopping cart at Old Navy and closed the browser window on Carter’s. I even ignored a coupon from Target.

I started composing an email to my children explaining that the Christmas pajama tradition had obviously outlived its usefulness and would be replaced by a sensible gift of cash to be applied to college tuition funds.

And then I remembered Remi.

Remington & I

This is his first year for Christmas jammies, and I’ve had his for weeks. He has never opened a set before. He has never experienced any of our other family traditions, either. He hasn’t learned to count down to Christmas by opening the little, white gift bags each day. He has never heard Grandpa read Narnia, and he hasn’t tried to sleep all night with a crowd of cousins on our guest room floor.

Maybe we are getting close to launching some grandchildren out into the big, wide world. But, we have several who haven’t even been to kindergarten yet. We certainly can’t give up on important traditions now. We’ve really only just begun.

I trashed the silly email, and opened up my browser. I have a new plan now. My next stop will be a Google search with the following parameter: basketball shorts with snowmen.

#Traditions!

 

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All in the Family

By Kathy NickersonOctober 10th, 2015mercy2 Comments


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My siblings and I didn’t have any first cousins. We reveled in the benefits of being the only grandchildren on both sides of the family, and we didn’t even know what we were missing. I didn’t realized the power of cousin friendships until our own children started having children. Then, I watched something amazing.

At first, since they lived far apart, I worked hard to facilitate the friendships. We hosted a cousins camp every year with the whole gaggle of them camping out at our place. But we haven’t pulled that off the last two summers, and now the girl cousins bypass me and simply video chat one another. Their friendships are some combination of best friends and sisters, without the drama of BFF’s or the rivalries of sisterhood.

If we go visit in Omaha, we must kiss the littlest sisters quickly before their cousin, Macy, arrives from across town. Once she comes in the door, we no longer exist. Our job is done. Evidently.

The boy cousins are equally bonded. But, you know, they show it in boy ways. Evidently they are building a kingdom of some kind in cyberspace through an app on their phones. And their fathers are playing, too.

The most interesting dynamic, though, is the way the girl cousins look up to the boy cousins. Nine-year-old Jake has star quality in the eyes of the little girls. And he works it.

Jake

 

This bond is hard to explain. It is a connectedness that goes back generations and reaches forward generations. And when it is also founded on a mutual faith in God, it is a beautiful and powerful thing. I sometimes wonder what these cousins could do if they joined forces in adulthood.

This bond is also ageless.

About once a week, two of my father’s girl cousins arrive at his front door with lunch.  The ladies join my parents in their little apartment, and the four of them spend the afternoon visiting and catching up on news. My eighty-eight-year-old dad may not be as energetic as Jake, and my mom and the cousins may not dance around him the way Macy, Nola, and Violet tend to do, but the love is exactly the same.

It is ageless.

www.kathynick.com_Grandpa&Roman

Sometimes I think we overlook these family relationships. We pull out a couple of scriptures and then imagine God wants us to ignore blood ties in favor of spiritual ties in the church. But we forget that He established the family as the very first institution on earth. And He chose two sets of brothers as His first disciples. Maybe it isn’t that our kingdom relationships are supposed to supersede our family relationships. Maybe our kingdom friendships are supposed to embrace our family members until all our relationships actually become one.

Now, wouldn’t that be lovely?

 

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