Cal Jernigan – Senior Pastor
Are you intentionally investing in friendships? Most people’s knee-jerk response is… of course. Some among us might not think it’s necessary. The following true story might cause you to think more deeply about it.
I ran across the story of Yvette Vickers when I was preparing one of my messages for our Plan B series—the one about investing in relationships. I didn’t have time to tell it in the message but I have thought about it a number of times since. It’s worth sharing.
Yvette Vickers was a former model and in her hey-day a B-movie star. Her most famous role was “the woman” in the movie Attack of the 50 Foot Woman. In August of 2011 she would have turned 83, but nobody is certain of exactly how old she was when she died.
According to the official report of the Los Angeles coroner’s office, it appears she laid dead for the better part of a year before she was noticed missing. Eventually, she was found by a neighbor who was a fellow actress, a woman named Susan Savage. Apparently Susan noticed cobwebs forming around her house and that she had letters yellowing in her mailbox. Susan reached through a broken window to unlock her door and entered her house. She found tons of junk mail and piles of clothes in the pretty much barricaded house. It’s what she found upstairs that was most chilling. There lay Vickers’ body, pretty much mummified, near a heater that was still running. Her computer was also on casting a pale glow over the room.
Now you might have already heard of this because the Los Angeles Times wrote a story about Vickers’ death that quickly went viral. Twitter feeds and Facebook posts told people of the sad discovery. It’s the kind of tragedy that makes people take notice. It is not an understatement to say that Vickers received much more attention in her death than she received in the latter years of her life. She had no children, wasn’t a part of any church community, and was included in no one’s social circle. She died very much alone.
Throughout her life Vickers was known as a horror-movie icon. She has now become an icon of a new kind of horror; the horror that is threatening the very core of our society-loneliness. Most people would not want to end their lives the way that Vickers did, yet most people are admitting they are growing lonelier.
So let me ask you again. Are you investing in relationships now? Are you making time for people or are you just convincing yourself you are just too busy? If you are too busy now, when do you imagine you will have the time? Remember, investing in relationships today guarantees there will be interest when you need to make a withdrawal tomorrow.
Just a week ago I was having a conversation with a woman in her eighties. She has recently lost her husband and she is now living alone. She candidly told me that she and her husband were only interested in each other, making no effort to invest in anyone else. In a moment of poignant insight she told me what a huge mistake that has proven to be. She said she now knows no one, and no one knows her. Thus, no one comes to visit and no one seems to care.
Let me close this post by going back to the story of Yvette Vickers. After her grotesque death was made known to the world a search was made of her phone bill to discover if she had anyone she was talking to. They discovered she had indeed been involved in a few calls. Not to friends and not to family, but to distant fans who had admired her in her acting days. They had located her through fan conventions and internet sites. They were the only ones interested enough to reach out to her.
This seems to say so much for the age in which we live. Through technology more and more people can know of us while we can make less and less effort to truly be known, and to know others.
How will your story end? I don’t know either, but in the meantime, go grab a cup of coffee with a friend. It can prove to be a game changer.