33 years ago, I met the nicest lady. She lived just down the street from us, and had 2 kids still at home that were just older and just younger than I. I remember how quiet and kind she always was, and especially how much she loved her family. She had some older kids that were kind of “wild” (that’s what we called it back then), hence she spent a lot of time helping to raise their children while they struggled along doing the best they could. There were many many months that I watched her love and nurture those little tikes, patiently guiding their parents, praying that her children would return to the gospel she so loved. Later, I watched those children, now on their own with those same little ones, pull together when there was crisis- when the father had 2 heart attacks, open heart surgery, job losses, and finally as their mother fought a losing battle with adenocarcinoma. They spent every moment they could with her, encouraging her, loving her, staying with her to help out. By now, I was part of the family, and had developed an even deeper respect and love for that gentle, serving soul. She had insisted on regular family reunions- not the “afternoon in the park” kind, but a long weekend spent playing games, visiting, camping, and singing. The most important thing I learned from her was this one simple truth; that when the rubber hits the road, family is all you really have, and family will always be there to pull you along, dig you out of your pit, and kick you in the butt when your motivator seems to be out of order. She had a deep and undying love for her Savior, and made sure each of her children, in-laws and out laws, and grandchildren knew it.
December 5 will mark 11 years since she left us and rejoined her parents in that sphere where there is no pain. For about 22 years, each of six siblings has taken turns hosting a reunion every other year. This weekend, all of her children, most of the out-laws and in-laws and grandchildren gathered together to celebrate family. Bonnie and her hubby Doug, found a beautiful lodge that would meet all the needs of such a large family, and rented it for the weekend. It was up in the mountains, and we were greeted by a fresh snowfall.
We talked, laughed, cried, played, slept, and just had an all around great time!
And at the end of the day, when the rubber meets the road, this family
will always have each others’ back, will always love each member, and
will always be in the cracks between the rubber and the road. For this
family I am thankful.
“We must not believe the many, who say that only free people ought to be educated, but we should rather believe the philosophers who say that only the educated are free” Epictetus quotes (Greek philosopher associated with the Stoics, AD 55-c.135)