It may sound corny, but I miss my family…
Recently, a cousin passed away and I wished I could have been at her funeral. Dianne was 10 years older than I but was an enjoyable cousin to be around. It is too sad to think that the most time we seem to spend with family is at a memorial service. Said it often, have I, that I would much rather be involved with a funeral over a wedding. Funerals seem to touch an entire family structure a lot more than does a wedding. I have had more than 40 relatives pass away since moving to Washington. The one thing funerals of my family often do is to bring us together for another visit.
Since 1994 we have lived away from Texas and the bulk of my family for 20 years. Seldom do we trek down south when it’s cold, and even less when it’s hot, but it seems the best way to see family is to take a journey.
When we were kids we LOVED going to Kentucky to visit family. My mom’s sister married and moved there way back, and they had a wonderful farm nestled between some hills. There was a barn to explore, camp outs and frog hunting to attempt, horses… Mostly it was to enjoy our cousins. My mom’s other sister lived close and it seems like we often teamed up for picnics and impromptu gatherings that included camping, swimming and biking. My dad’s family mostly lived in East Texas and weekend trips to the country were often enjoyed.
Get our families into a combined reunion and I suspect we’d push the number up to 1,000.
This made me think of family. My kids live two hours away, in another state. Other than Brenda, I do not think I have a single relative in Washington. That means, no reunions that are closer than a long day of traveling. No birthday celebrations unless we plan long in advance. In fact, this meant we did not have a single family member to celebrate our 40th Anniversary with!
However, this does not make me want to move to the heat and humidity just be closer to them! It does make me want to visit in the winter, on a really cool day, and let’s have good ol’ family time together. Play games, eat, tell stories, reconnect, and get to know all of the new additions… I have nieces, cousins and in-laws I have never met! There are some who have been laid to rest and I would like to visit their final resting place.
How do you replace family?
You create a replacement family in whatever place you live. For us the family is found in our church. There are a dozen or more little munchkin’s that I get to love on and admire.
There are older kids approaching their teen years that I get to high-five. We are limited in teens right now, but it is a lovely thing to watch them reach toward high school. Young couples, newly marrieds, distant connections, and close friends. Folks nearing their middle years, and some, like us, who are approaching our retiring years. Then those multitude of grand parents and great grand parents… Married, singles, divorced, widowed. Struggles and victories. Life and death.
When God told Abram to leave Ur of the Chaldea (Gen 12:1-7), he took his immediate family and support system. It might have been a rugged move – flocks, tents, young ones, and old. Fragile, energetic, fast and slow. Regardless, he created his extended family with what was available to him. Every bible story shows us the same truth. They were a nomad people and when they moved they made family where they were planted.
We create family from what is around us.
This becomes our support system. It is who we turn to for laughter and tears. True, we are still connected to “back home” and may even yearn to return there someday. But the right mind can accept the imperfectness of life, hardships along the way, making family a thing of “where I am planted.” Still, within our church are some large family groups with some of the same distant challenges we all face. It is an interesting thing to watch these families as they make plans on gathering with their familial connections – some close, some far, but often a teeming mass of fun!
Perhaps you have a way that you could share with others?
So, what will be your family time today on the this Sunday morning?