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Posts Tagged ‘family’

Joined for Life

George Eliot wrote, “What greater thing is there for human souls than to feel that they are joined for life – to be with each other in silent unspeakable memories.”  Last weekend Becky and I were privileged to reconnect with people with whom we are joined for life.  We returned to a church family we were part of more than twenty years ago.  It was like going home.

The Country Club Road church in Roswell, New Mexico is a special family and place.  Our youngest was born there, and all three of our children spent some of their most formative years there.  This is a community of faith that helped to raise our children.  What am I saying?  They helped to raise us!  It was a great weekend.  We reminisced.  We laughed.  We shed a few tears.  We reconnected with people who were dear to us long ago and who remain so.

What do people do who have no such family?  How do they cope?  Where do they find the joy in living?  Today, I’m thanking God for family, for church families to whom we are joined for life, for opportunities to revisit one’s happy past, and for the truly wonderful gift of memory.  All of these are priceless gifts of a loving, heavenly father.

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There is a funny line in the Jackie Chan-Chris Tucker 1998 movie, Rush Hour, which has become part of our family history.  Tucker is welcoming Chan to Los Angeles, but Chan is silent and acting like he doesn’t understand a single word Tucker is speaking.   Raising his voice, Tucker asks, “Do you speaka any English?  Do you understand the words that are coming out of my mouth?”  I have modified that question over the years and tend to use it when I think Becky or my children are not listening to me.  I’ll ask, “Do you not hear the words that are coming out of my mouth?”

Well, they usually hear me.  They just don’t always listen.  Hearing and listening are two different things.  When you hear something, it can go in one ear and out the other.  My kids would attest to that!  But listening requires thought.  To listen to someone is to give one’s attention to what that person says, even to take notice of and act on what that person says.

This helps me to understand what Jesus once said: “He who has ears to hear, let him hear” (Mt. 13:9).  In the past I wondered, “We all have ears, don’t we?  How could we not hear?”  Perhaps Jesus is saying, “Let the one who hears, listen!”  Our Lord invites and commands his followers to listen to what he has to say.  To pay attention to it.  To act on it.

“Be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves,” Scripture teaches (Jas. 1:22).  How would we who hear God’s word deceive ourselves?  By thinking that hearing is the same as listening or doing.  It isn’t.  James is saying that there is little value – dare I say, no value – in hearing God’s word if there is not the attendant intention to practice it.  When God speaks, we should do more than hear.  We should listen!

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A proud father and a beautiful bride!

A proud father and a beautiful bride!

My wife and I had a major life experience a week ago Sunday with our daughter’s wedding, and I would like to process some of my feelings in this online journal, if you in cyberspace don’t mind.

Susanna is our baby, our only daughter, and the last of our three children to marry.  May I say that it was quite an emotional event.  I’m sure that is no surprise to you who have married off children, especially you fathers who have married off daughters.  We have married off two sons, but for some reason, our sons’ weddings did not affect me quite like the wedding of our daughter.  Why is that?  My love for them is no less than my love for her.

Her wedding brought out feelings that were all over the chart, for me.  There was some pain.  The joy far outweighed the pain, but there was pain, nevertheless.  I think I was saddened by the feeling that this event really marked a degree of separation from our daughter.  There was a feeling that in some sense, she was leaving our family.  Of course, she will always be a part of our family, but now she has started her own family.  I’m sure that is the way God intended it, but if I had my druthers, I would like to see her start her own family without the feeling that she was leaving ours!  I’m happy to add members to the family; I just don’t want to see any leave!

I think the overwhelming emotion I experienced was gratitude.  The tears were motivated by joy and gratitude, not by sadness.  This is probably too simple of an explanation;  what I felt at her wedding was likely much more complicated.  But, all day I was mindful of the goodness of God, and that touched my heart.  Becky and I have so many precious memories of Susanna and our time with her over the years.  I thought, “God, why have I been so blessed to have a daughter like this, and to have shared so many wonderful experiences with her?”

For those who love God, a wedding is but another opportunity to celebrate another of his countless gifts and to acknowledge his goodness and loving-kindness.  Right?  As I looked into my daughter’s face, as I saw her groom, as I scanned the faces of those who came to celebrate with us — my parents, my in-laws, my brothers and sisters, our friends, my wife, our children, their spouses, our grandchildren, and on and on — I realized again how richly blessed I really am.  God has been good to me!  All of which reminds me of these words: “O Thou fount of every blessing; Tune my heart to sing Thy grace; Streams of mercy never ceasing; Call for songs of loudest praise!”

In spite of my joy and gratitude, I must admit that for a day or two, I was noticeably down.  I’m not sure why.  I was just a little depressed.  Has anyone out there shared similar feelings?  Do such feelings come to most parents who see their children marry?  Or, is it me?  Perhaps, I need to alter my perspective.  Thanks for listening.

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