For much of our nation, this weekend ushers students out of school and into summer. Right now, America is grilling a lot of meat. We’re placing flowers and flags on gravestones and honoring sacrifice. There is much splashing around.
For me personally and for my family (both nuclear and extended), this new season isn’t just about the weather and vacation. This is a time of change.
For some, it’s a change for the better. We’re living life healthier, adding in exercise and better eating habits and subtracting pounds. We’re finding love and success, peace in our hearts and understanding of others. We’re meeting goals and finishing projects.
For others, the changes come with some degree of worry. Will this treatment work? Where will I be going next? Can my family stay together? Will I have a job? Are my children going to be ok?
I watch us all struggle with what’s in front of us right now. Maybe it looks like too much. Maybe it looks like it’s too far. Maybe it’s large and looming and terrifying.
But our fears can’t matter. Our fears can’t stop us from moving forward.
We are a pair of brothers who met beautiful women, married them, and were fruitful with children. We are the grandchildren from those children, raised in close proximity, cousins like sisters and brothers.
We are the great-grandchildren, the oldest about to drive a car for the first time and the youngest not much past taking first steps. We are the men and women tough (or crazy) enough to survive marrying into the ranks, bringing blessings that abound, offering new perspectives, weaving tighter and more richly colored our family tapestry.
There are so many of us: Grandparents, aunts, uncles, parents, siblings, spouses, cousins and children. We are 21 of us on one side and at least as many on the other. We’ve grown up close, and stayed in touch. We’ve disagreed and fought but there isn’t a single person in this clan who wouldn’t drop everything to help if another one called out in need.
Dear family, I pray every night before I go to sleep for the four generations of us here, and for the ones to come. I pray “Keep us whole and safe and healthy and happy. Keep us together.”
Whatever you’re facing right now, in this season, I want you to know that I love you. I’m proud of you. I miss you. And I’ll see you soon.