Monday, November 28, 2016

Still November, Still Thankful - for Family and Friends!

Family - this small, little six letter word encompasses so much. Especially for those of us  who are Christians. It may sort of seem that when I covered Home I could have covered family too but not really. Family is so much more than the place where my 'immediates' live. And well, yes, that can even change through the years.
There are times we have no choice in the matter, like our blood relatives - I was born into the family of Clyde and Naomi and already had in place two older sisters. The one nearest my age had Downs Syndrome so, there was going to be definite influences on my life that are probably different than others. I already had a  whole gigantic slew of relatives because Dad was one of 13 children and Mom the youngest of 9. So, I had bookoos of cousins, and uncles and aunts. I only had one set of grandparents though because my Mom's parents had already died. Anyway, this was what I was born into, a set culture, background, a spirituality already being lived out on both sides of my family. It was a  pretty marvelous group to be born into. Not perfect by any means and our own set of negatives to overcome, but a good foundation and I am SO very grateful. So much to be thankful for and also, a feeling of responsibility to keep a standard of respect and integrity for this family.

Some of us marry into family and that becomes ours as well ... by law and by someone's choice. Dad and Mom in laws, sister and brother in laws, uncle and aunts, grandparents, the daughters and sons in laws .... all these are ours! Sometimes this group is very small and sometimes it becomes really, really big! And also, with this comes responsibility - to keep love and concern flowing, celebrations of life and death. Sometimes those in laws are ours because of someone else marrying but they matter, This is all ours.
I have chosen a family along the way - when I became a Christian and was added to the Body of Christ on February 16, 1969, God made me a part of a universal spiritual family that knows no boundaries of location, culture, color, gender, or time ... yes, I am able to count generations of long-gone folks as my brothers and sisters. Pretty amazing!!I believe a lot of joy and responsibility comes with this choice.

Friendship leads to family-like ties sometimes too - when you feel so close to someone who has no other tie than that of friendship but the hearts just mesh in a unity that is really cool. A favorite little poem of mine is:

Some friends are summer friends, fragile as flowers they are delightful in life's milder hours. I love the winter friends; wind tossed they bow but do not break nor lose their luster in the snow and ice. (unknown)

And of course this verse is so true!!

Friends come and friends go,
    but a true friend sticks by you like family. Proverbs 18:24 (MSG)

So, anyway, I am so very thankful for all the people in my life who make up family - they have been and will continue to be part of who I am. For sure, I have been affected negatively by family members - that unspoken affirmation, the longed-for presence that never appeared, those sought for words that were never given. But, for the most part I live for and have always dwelt in the positive. Hugs, joy, laughter, singing, amazing fellowship, support when I couldn't go it alone, the knowing that I have been surrounded by prayer warriors my entire life!! All of this ...  molding and defining who I am.
My own prayer is that I will be a positive influence on these people - that my impact will always bring light to places that could be dark otherwise. I know I have messed up various times. But, I pray I will never underestimate the power of my word, my encouragement, my positive reaction to their good news, my sorrow lovingly expressed in imminent, unavoidable losses. And, just that my love and influence will always be a beacon shining the way to heaven's gates as I follow day by day in His steps.


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1 comment:

  1. Beautifully written. I'm very thankful to count you as family! You are always an encouragement to me. I am uplifted by your spiritual example. I love you, Cousin!

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