Week 21: family

Week 21: family

I took the four day weekend over Memorial Day to visit my family in PA. Hours of mask wearing in quiet airports and on half empty planes — all for my family. The first moments of reunion are always the most special (especially after an eight month gap); the first words most precious. Seeing my family only around twice a year means that every visit is rich, memorable, and not taken for granted. Even with the concerns of COVID, something told me to go home, even if for just a full two day visit. The older I get, the more I realize that family is more important than anything else in life. 

It sounds cheesy and a bit cliché, but it’s true: you only get one family.

In December of 2018, my siblings and I conspired to surprise my mom for her 60th birthday by flying me home. Her reaction alone made it worthwhile. During that occasion, I reflected:

The older I get and every time I come home I feel my heart grow bigger towards my family. There’s a deeper appreciation for what I’ve been given. Never before would I have sat down with my dad, speaking candidly and praying passionately, like I did this morning with such an ease and comfort. All I can say is “Thank you” for what I am now realizing I have. We touch eternity in these moments, because I believe that my family, these moments, have been written into it. The way my mom screamed and covered her mouth with her hands in shock before hugging me when I walked into the house was written in eternity. All of our bustling conversation last night was known before it happened. These moments will never die. There’s such a beauty in these blood relationships, faulted and imperfect as they are. This family is a foundation of generations knowing, following and loving each other and our God. Little do I realize how much I’ve been blessed to know Jesus through my family. To be loved as I am by them. And just to know something of what love looks like when so many others don’t see anything of love in their families.  

I’m so thankful this morning. I feel such a great portion of love for what I’ve been given, appreciated because of the distance and shortness of time together. There’s something I continue to learn through familial love. It grows over time; it keeps no account of past wrongs; it moves past disagreements; it thrives in humility and sacrifice. In laughter and tears our love shines through. The love I hold for the family I’ve been given is eternal. It moves beyond the physical, speaks of what is greater.

Tears always accompany the ending, when my mother gives me a final hug before I go through the airport doors, back home to MT. My father gives me his usual smile and farewell. Neither of us are very emotional. But my mother always has wet eyes.

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