Moms, dads, sisters, brothers, grandmas and grandpas, aunts, uncles, and cousins. And there may be step siblings and other relatives who come along and add to the mix.
Family! We love ’em. We hate ’em. We laugh with them. We cry over them. We run from them. We run to them. But most of us can’t get along without them–even when there has been pain and hurt. Being family includes love and forgiveness, joy and acceptance.
“These are my people, and they’re wonderful,” one woman said with a catch in her voice as she reflected on her extended family. “I’m just beginning to get that at age 65.”
I remember as a child enjoying a weekend at my cousin Pat’s home. She lived in a great old house in Chicago, Illinois. It had two ‘attic’ rooms with slanted ceilings. I loved sleeping in this cozy space and waking up to the sound of tree branches brushing against the window pane and the fragrance of pancakes on the griddle in Aunt Janet’s kitchen.
I also recall dreading kissing Aunt Bernice. A bristley hair stuck out of a mole on her cheek and poked me whenever I came in contact with it. I shivered and jumped back every time! But she too, was one of ‘my people,’ and I loved her.
Today I am thinking about my family members with love and appreciation–those close and those far away, those still on earth and those in heaven, those I know well and those I know only a little.
Richard Rohr, a Franciscan priest, spoke to my heart with these words:
“…love is not determined by the worthiness of the object. Love is determined by the giver of the love.” What a beautiful concept to remember and practice–not only for our family members but for all people we encounter for we are all part of the family of God.
Sir John Bowring, 19th century British ambassador, put it elegantly. “A happy family is but an earlier heaven.”
Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved–you and your household (Acts 16:31).