Reconnecting with Family Wednesday, Mar 10 2010 

Our times are characterized by mobility, distance from family, family-like groupings of like-minded people, business associates, etc. What is no longer a characteristic of American life is the proximity to extended family, which is why we create pseudo-families. We are scattered all over the place. It makes for isolation and distancing which should not happen when you have a large number of relatives. I have thought about that a lot, because I come from a family of 7 children, had lots of aunts and uncles and more cousins than I can count, and numerous niece and nephews, many of whom I rarely see.

After almost 7 years, last year we reconnected with a niece/goddaughter in Hawaii. She is all grown up and a young Mama now. And this week, we had the opportunity to reconnect with one of our nephews/godchildren in east Texas. This young man, who started life so precipitously 40 years ago in a Montana hospital, is now a big strapping guy with a beautiful wife and two lovely children. He lives on a farm where his family raises goats for themselves and others.

We hadn’t seen Craig in 10 years—since the death of my father, and much water has gone under the bridge since. What a loss. We were pleasantly surprised to find out how much we have in common. Our world view is very similar, and we were surprised to learn that we both chose similar lifestyles for the good of our children–the more rural life with farm animals  (we had sheep, he has goats)  4-H projects,  involvement in church, etc.   We actually reconnected initially through Facebook and finally we made the trip east to visit in person.

By letting so much time pass I was lamenting about how much we have all missed.  The point is, we need to make those opportunities happen rather than leave them to chance, because chance rarely happens. And we don’t want to go through this life losing contact with those we should love and know the most. In the hierarchy of things, we are enjoined to love those whom God has put around us, like our family, and then move as in concentric circles outward. I have prayed for Craig and all my godchildren for all these years, and I am so glad that I had a second chance to have him in my life.

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Experiencing the empty nest Thursday, Jun 7 2007 

It is quiet here at home–all too quiet. Not the quiet we usually experience when we are all together in the same house, each doing his own reading or studying. This is different.

Our son Mike is spending the week at the US Naval Academy’s Summer Seminar. The purpose is to get a look at Academy life to see if he really wants to go there. It also gives the Academy the chance to look over potential candidates.

Mike is the youngest of our children and the only one left at home. He called and said he was dreading jumping off the 3-story tower into the deep pool below (I hope it is deep enough!) Wouldn’t you know, the cell-phone service tower near the Academy malfunctioned and we haven’t heard how his jump went.

Lord, teach me to trust. Surely they would have notified me if anything had happened…

I will be grateful to have him home tomorrow night. But it will only be for a day before he leaves again for the Air Force Academy Summer Seminar.

Mike has been homeschooled for eleven years. He is well prepared for the challenges life will offer, and he is eager to take them on.

All too often I hear parents anxious for the day they will have an empty nest. When I hear that I feel very sad for them and the children they are anxious to push out. We have them for so short a time. I am grateful that we have one more year with Mike under our wing. Then, who knows…a military academy or a university will welcome him in, and the quiet we are experiencing right now will be deafening.

RIP Saturday, Apr 28 2007 

She was with us for 22 years. She was dependable. She shared in many family outings and a lot of the family work. We spent (dare I say) thousands of hours together in those 22 years—laughing, talking, dreaming, sleeping. We covered a lot of ground together, from Colorado to Washington, D.C., to Arizona and California, and we even went to Mexico together once. We did a lot of homeschooling together as we were able to pick up and go when there was a family emergency or an opportunity for hands-on learning in a national park or other place of interest. In her company, we learned a lot about the bible as we listened to endless bible stories on cassette to pass the time between home and our destination.

My husband and I were pretty fond of her. We gave her a face-lift so that she would fit in with our family. The kids used to like her, but as they got older they realized she wasn’t very pretty and she knew nothing about style. She was pretty stodgy, if the truth be told, and I think they were embarrassed by the condition of her skin. However, whenever they needed her, they knew she would help them out and she was almost always available. She wasn’t picky about the company she kept. In fact, she was as comfortable being with our llama as she was with any of us. And she never complained. She just served us all as needed.

But today, she left us, with only my husband and myself here to say goodbye. We sold her remaining working organs. Her epitath reads:

You used me up

You wore me out

Your recycled me

and

Now You will do without*

 

Yes, last week we used her up. She had 300,008 miles on her. She was pretty worn out and didn’t have the energy to change gears anymore. And today we sent her to be recycled. Now, we have to learn, after 22 years, to do without our E-100 Ford Van.

*with apologies to Pam

RIP