Wednesday, August 5, 2015

the importance of family

Honor your father and mother. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the Lord your God is giving you.

It is good to be home.  I am not talking about the structure where I live with my wife and children.  I am talking about the place where my parents and brothers are.  My oldest daughter and I are in Oklahoma to spend time with my family and to celebrate my niece getting married.  I enjoy being here.

About five months ago I began getting text messages and eventually a phone call saying that my mom was on the way to the hospital because she had broken her ankle.  It has been a long road as she has been in a nursing/rehab facility since that happened.  She is finally gaining strength and hopes to be home by the middle of this month.  Thank you for your prayers.

The days and weeks went by.  We talked on the phone and through text messages and Facebook posts, but there was more to it than that.  I missed my parents.  With her pain and struggle the more my heart longed to spend some time with my mom and with my dad.

Yesterday I was able to spend extra time with them.  Dad drove an extra 3 hours to pick us up at the airport in Oklahoma City.  We talked much on the way home.  Last evening we spent several hours with my mom.  It really is good to be home.  I even went to my favorite BBQ place when we got to town (that’s important too).

Though we live 1,100 miles a part and see each us maybe once a year these people still have my heart.  I miss my brothers, Ric and Steve, as well.  I pray for them all by name often.  But there is nothing like being with family.  I am looking forward to time with each of them, my brothers and my parents.

I sat in my mom’s room at The Villages and was overcome with the understanding that I am blessed.  My parents raised us to know God and to know we are loved.  Our home wasn’t perfect, and we may be a bit dysfunctional.  But we know what love looks like and feels like.

One of my favorite signs says “love you more”.  There is one hanging in my mom’s room where she is staying, and there is one over the front door of my parents’ home.  That is something we have said to each other and bantered back and forth with for many years.  I know in this place as in my home in Virginia love is the real deal and must be cultivated and protected in our homes.

I am blessed.  Spending time with my mom I know that I have missed many days of her struggle, but today we got to catch up some, talked about the kids and life.  We got to just spend time together.  Dad and I will do that some more too.  These are days to be treasured.

Oklahoma seems hotter than Virginia at times.  The land is much flatter.  But this is where I grew up (though some would say I haven’t grown up yet).  This is the place where I learned to live and breathe, and this is the place where I learned that I am not alone.  That is important.  I am never alone thanks to God.  Mom and dad taught me that.

That verse I began with is one we quote pretty often.  I even joke about the phrase “live a long, full life” because if you don’t obey they will kill you.  Not really.  What I have come to know is that the people around our lives are important.  Loving is a give and take kind of thing.  You have to give love to those around you.  Also you have to know how to accept love and acceptance from those who love you.

I am blessed.  In the next few days I may share a story or two from my childhood with you.  Consider that a warning.  I will miss my wife and our two youngest children, but I am planning to savor this time with some people who I don’t get to be around very much.

… the family of the godly stands firm.

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