The family-too-far-away blew into town last week, a spur of the moment decision, for a few days visit with Sweet William and me.
I went into my Martha-mode, preparing the house, airing out rooms, shopping for food and coffee. Lots of coffee.
And suddenly the Wright House was full and running over. Five extra people and two extra dogs, cousins visiting and people dropping in, and we did the dance of people sharing time and space. We moved to its rhythm, loving every minute of it.
God is good to give us family.
It is one way we see His love for us as individuals and for humanity. Relationship runs deep in His own heart, and He gives it to us as a gift.
On Easter afternoon, we gathered at my cousin’s house for dinner, and this only child is thankful for extended family. Three generations of cousins scattered throughout the rooms at tables laden with food, glorious food. There was talking and there was eating. There were jokes and stories. There were varied ideas and discussions. Because we are a group with our own opinions about things, and we are not afraid to share them.
We are family.
Our one and only son, my daughter-in-love, and the three precious grands visited their grandma/great-grandma. The time spent with her was precious because her time on this earth is precious. Though she is frail in body, she is feisty in spirit.
Kids spent the night at each other’s houses. They played games, they acted silly, they jumped on the trampoline, and they watched movies. They drank the juice of life with gusto knowing the hours were fleeting.
The days were full and then over too quickly, and the family-now-near began to pack up to go home. It’s always a treasure hunt for chargers and socks. The bags and shoes were stacked at the exit door ready for the next morning’s departure.
Breakfast was prepared and coffee cups filled more than once. Then they loaded up the suburban to drive back to their home so far away. Hugs and lumps in our throats and more hugs for each other. We look into each one’s eyes and say words we want them to remember, “I love you so much.”
Good-byes are not easy no matter how much I practice it.
We wave until we can’t see each other any longer. And I stand in the lane as tears begin to well in my eyes. I am surprised by them. Haven’t I already shed enough tears to fill an ocean over the miles between us?
My cousin-sister walked toward me and hugged my neck, letting me cry on her shoulder for a minute. She has also suffered loss, and her compassion for the ache in my heart is a balm. We reassure each other with the words we have repeated in a hundred different forms.
“I don’t understand God’s ways, but I will trust that He knows what He is doing.”
And so we part with confidence in a God who gives us families and then asks us to relinquish them to Him. We pray and we turn loose and we give Him their very lives, their very hearts and souls.
We trust the One who makes us family.