Notes from Jan

Lets Face It

May 4, 2023

Who cries over a cinnamon donut? I did this morning. Sobbed with a mug of coffee in one hand and a donut in the other. Taste and memory connected and I was nine again in DeKalb, Illinois.

As the eldest of three, I received extra privileges and responsibilities. Back then, Daddy did much of the grocery shopping. And one of my privileges was walking with him to the local A&P to pick up groceries from Mama’s short list. The fun part was that he never stuck to the list. And sometimes, he added a box of cinnamon donuts. I think it cost something like .29 cents for a dozen.

However, looking back, it wasn’t the goods as much as the gift of being together. The safe feeling of my hand tucked into Daddy’s. Focused time together. Since he was a pastor, folks often clamored for his attention, made demands, had many needs. And he did the best he could, which was never enough for some. But this was our time. Just me and Daddy. Face to face. Hand in hand.

Which explains why today’s donut wasn’t enough. I missed Daddy’s face and hand. It caught me by surprise. Most of my tears connect to missing Jud or other concerns. Maybe it was because I’m still pondering yesterday’s Community Bible Study lesson from III John. He admits letters aren’t enough and he hopes to see them face to face.

And I get it. Letters, texts, calls, email go just so far. The news reminds us there’s an epidemic of loneliness among the young in our culture. But this dis-ease infects more than the young. We backed away during the pandemic, masked, hunkered down and took to connecting in less personal ways. And now, we’re unsure how to bridge back. It’s easier to work from home and less hassle to watch church on TV, while eating breakfast, wearing pajamas.

So yesterday I read that a man named Albert Mehrabian figured out the components to communication. He claimed that 55% is NON-verbal, 38% is vocal and 7% words. Well, it didn’t take much for me to realize why so many are dying of loneliness. God designed us to be in relationships. And that requires face to face and hand in hand times together.

And that’s what I missed this morning. While I had food for my body, my soul starved for a familiar face and hand. A cinnamon donut or a text with an emoji takes one just so far. Even God’s part of a Trinity, which suggests even God doesn’t like being alone.

Well, lets face it. While words matter, they aren’t enough to keep us connected heart to heart. I read somewhere we worry that our kids aren’t listening to us. We should worry that they never stop watching what we do.

Well, that’s hardly a stress reliever.

Which is why, now and then, I hunger for a familiar face, a reassuring hand or a donut.

How about you?

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14 Comments

  • Reply Lynne Granz May 4, 2023 at 1:31 pm

    hi Jan, In the day, my dad used to take me each Saturday to the bakery and newspaper store. I would get my powdered jelly donut and a piece of candy in the paper store. Of course my dad was the softy in the house! You brought back fond memories for me. Thanks….yes, loneliness hits us all from time to time. Blessings, Lynne

    • Reply Jan Carlberg May 4, 2023 at 4:10 pm

      Thanks, dear Lynne. It’s good to have sweet memories like you shared. My big concern is not who or what I miss sometimes, as much as what’s happening today to so many young people, who feel acute loneliness and isolation. Thanks for taking time to read the blog and for your part in Community Bible Study.

  • Reply Julie Mozena May 4, 2023 at 3:39 pm

    Hi Jan,

    Your blog touched me today. Not only are the youth lonely, the entire nation is! I know the pandemic changed me and how I interact with the world – no small feat, as a champion extrovert.

    I’m grateful for our precious face-to-face time when you visit San Anselmo. And I’m grateful for my friendship with you! Until our next tete-a-tete, I wish you all the best – and a cinnamon donut too 🙂

    Hugs, Julie

    • Reply Jan Carlberg May 4, 2023 at 4:20 pm

      Woohoo, it’s you! My friend, Julie, the one who laughs and the world can’t help but laugh with you or, at least, wonder what you’re drinking so early in the morning. And I do love our breakfast dates at Comforts in San Anselmo. And while, I’m an introvert and love alone time to write and read, reflect and process, I need REAL face time with others or I shrivel up. Thanks for being one of the ones who keeps me younger than my years and graciously repeats things when the batteries on my hearing aids run out.

  • Reply Kathy Berggren May 4, 2023 at 3:57 pm

    Loved this today- as I long for my now grown daughters who are in NYC and Denver. Not to mention my wonderful mom and dad who are with Jesus now. Sometimes just the smells or a song or someone’s face reminds me of them and the tears come- I’m glad they do. Will never forget our retreat times in Asilomar near Carmel- you touched all of us deeply- especially me- with that special 55%❤️

    • Reply Jan Carlberg May 4, 2023 at 4:32 pm

      It is really you, dear Kathy?! I am so thrilled to see you name show up. You took me for my first In-N-Out burger in California years ago before or after the retreat at Asilomar. I remember asking all the women to gather a stone from the beach, like a stone of remembrance for what God had done for them. You know, like Joshua had them do after the Children of Israel crossed the Jordan River. Well, turns out it was illegal to remove anything from that beach area. Not the first time I had to face the legal consequences for one of my actions. I’m sure you miss your daughters. And I have my growing list of family and friends who I miss but am grateful for all those close by and afar who remain within a walk, drive or flight. As for those already in heaven, I’m counting on them to pray and cheer us on as they watch from heaven’s porch. Joy and peace to and through you, dear Kathy.

  • Reply Maggie Rowe May 4, 2023 at 5:18 pm

    Jan, you had me at “cinnamon donut” and DeKalb! I grew up on a farm near Streator, IL, which was not far from DeKalb (also close to Norway, Illinois, for that matter). When I read your post I wanted to order a whole box of cinnamon donuts delivered to your doorstep. Then again, I’d rather deliver them myself. Just need to catch a flight to Boston first. I also remember studying Mehrabian in college in one of my speech courses, and have never forgotten that 93/7 % statistic about non-verbal communication. That said, I am so thankful that you communicate to us regularly here using that 7%. Your words matter to a whole lot of us.

    • Reply Jan Carlberg May 4, 2023 at 8:38 pm

      Thanks always, dear Maggie, for your encouragement. As one who works so well with words, written and spoken, you continue to communicate the love of Jesus in word and deed to women all over this country and faraway countries, like Norway. As for DeKalb, I loved the smell of that rich black dirt after it rained. And the taste of fresh corn in summertime. I have so many delicious memories of my years in that luscious farm country. And I never walked into our parsonage on a Sunday after church without the aroma of roast beef, potatoes and carrots wafting a delicious welcome to all who entered. Love those generous farmers.

  • Reply dale May 5, 2023 at 11:13 am

    Good morning sister Jan,

    While I am pleased to still have my memory, I am filled with more gratitude for the wonderful memories I have from my childhood as well – my dad had giant hands. This is why it is important to make good memories with our kids so they will have something nice to say at our funerals – I plan to give them some “talking points” but was reminded to print and not use cursive because they cannot read that stuff. Off to have a blueberry donut with only one person to fault. Get thou behind me Jan. 🙂 Brother Dale

    • Reply Jan Carlberg May 8, 2023 at 4:18 pm

      Good afternoon to you, brother Dale. Making good memories is no small matter. I laughed at “they can’t read cursive.” Amazing, but true. But they can read you and Marty. Etched into their minds and hearts is the love you’ve deposited into their memory banks. They are richer for having observed you and Marty over the years. Your love for Jesus, each other,, your family, friends and concern for others continues to mark them. So, enjoy your blueberry donut. You have enough discipline to make a donut act like health food.

  • Reply Kari Swenson Rourke May 7, 2023 at 5:22 am

    I’m just sitting here in my mom’s hospital room in the wee hours of the morning holding her hand as we wait to usher her into eternity with her JESUS. I love that you’ve shared a friendship with my mom and dad fostered back during you and Jud’s Wheaton days. She and dad have always been so thankful for the two of you…..and my mom and I share a love for your writing. So this early morning, I thank you for your friendship to mom, dad AND I and also for being faithful to put pen to paper and sharing what’s on your heart so creatively and beautifully. It ALWAYS touches our hearts. This morning especially.

    • Reply Jan Carlberg May 8, 2023 at 5:00 pm

      Oh, precious Kari, this made me weep. I love your kind, strong, beautiful Norwegian Mama. Your parents were so supportive of Jud and me during our time at Gordon. You, dear Kari, are a beautiful reflection of both of your parents. Whether your Mama responds or not, I’m sure she senses your presence, your touch and words or songs you sing to her as you help her move from this earth to her true Home. I’m praying for you, your Dad and your family during this sacred journey. Jesus waits to welcome your Mama, maybe in Norwegian. “Velkommen Hjem.”

  • Reply Jeri May 8, 2023 at 9:34 am

    Sweet, sweet reminders Jan. Thank you for your blessed viewpoints that you graciously share with all of us.

    • Reply Jan Carlberg May 8, 2023 at 5:03 pm

      And thank you, dear Jeri, for continuing to read and encourage me with your comments. You and Ron remain such a good part of our Gordon years. Happy Springtime. and may you have some sweet memories to savor. And maybe a guilt free donut.

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