Family is such an important part of so many people’s lives, and I am no different. This past weekend I got to spend time with family that I don’t see often enough, even though they are only 2 1/2 hours away. We had a wonderful picnic and the weather was perfect! I got to see a 3 yr. old great-niece and a 7 month old great-nephew that I’ve never met. They were both so cute! I spent time visiting with cousins, sisters, brother, niece and nephews. My brother-in-law organized egg races and three-legged races. After the races, we took a group picture. We laughed and ate some good food.
As the evening grew chilly, some of us went into town for dinner at a local Italian restaurant. There was more talking and laughing. Then my son and I went back to my sister’s house to stay the night. I stayed up too late talking with my sister about what we’ve been up to and what we want to do in the near future. The time together never seems long enough or often enough, but I am grateful for that time.
Because family is a 2 1/2 hour drive away, I also got to spend some time in the car with my son. In typical 15-year-old fashion he had his iPod earphones in and was listening to different music than I was part of the time. But at one point along the way he turned ejected the CD and then didn’t put another one in, then he leaned his seat back. I said, “Hey, aren’t you going to put another CD in so I don’t have to drive in silence?” He said, “Don’t you just want to talk for a while?” Yes, my 15-year-old son REALLY said that. So we talked. I don’t really remember about what, but I know we laughed some on the way.
Then when we returned home on Sunday, I went to a wonderful gathering with my other family — my church. The Community of Faith had our inaugural meeting and gala dinner that night. We voted to adopt the church constitution that I helped to draft, and elected our Board of Elders and Executive Leadership Team. After our short 15-minute meeting, we all gathered for a picture and then dinner. When I walked into the room where the dinner was being held, I had a hard time deciding where to sit because there are so many wonderful people in my church family that I wanted to visit with. The dinner was delicious and the company terrific. After dinner, the choir sang, we installed our interim pastor (who already feels like one of the family), and talked about our dreams for the church.
Sometimes family relationships — both blood relatives and those in our Christian family — can be difficult and challenging. But life would not be the same without either one. Each relationship helps us to learn and grow. It is in these family relationships that we learn how to love and forgive. The lessons are sometimes hard, but it is those hard lessons that stick with us and bring us to the times of rejoicing with our family at picnics and gala dinners, or during simple car rides from one to the other.