Thursday, November 25, 2010

A (Real) Family Portrait

Family is a messy experiment - even the BEST ones!

I know that you may have expected a lovely little treatise on the joy and wonder of celebrating the picturesque "Norman Rockwell" Thanksgiving. But our family is composed of PEOPLE. And we are people that Norman Rockwell never met! Smile.

Holidays (for us) have never looked quite like the pictures that he and Currier & Ives made popular in the American mindset. And our gatherings as adults have never seemed to really measure up to the memories we've immortalized from our own childhoods.

I see you smiling - you've attended that same family celebration. The celebration that finds you getting back in the car with your spouse and saying, "We are the only normal ones in this whole bunch!" Smile.

Yep, that's family!

I once saw a plaque with the simple statement, "Friends are our chosen family." But I strongly disagree with that premise.

Please understand, Frank and I believe in the power and importance of friendships. We have invested heavily in developing lifetime friends that have stood by us through thick and thin. But in all of those relationships, there is the possibility of "stepping back" periodically; giving one another space.

With family - there's no stepping back. You gotta deal with your mess! (That's a southern phrase and I'm not real sure how to translate it to other dialects. But I think you get my drift.)

And honestly, I think this is part of God's design for us all.

Right now we are staying with our brother Terry and his wife Pam. Our family invaded their NC home Tuesday night and they are stuck with us until Friday.

Their girls (Ashley and Kayley) have been displaced, exchanging their bedrooms for a couch and a pallet. We've seriously interrupted their schedule, dirtied their linens, crowded their driveway, overrun their entertainment plans.

But that's family at Thanksgiving!

"Where ARE you going with this, Sheri?"

I believe that God created family to help us become like His son.

See, none of my natural tendencies are like Jesus. I can be quite selfish and often act on that selfishness. But walking with family helps me recognize this problem and forces me to deal with it.

When selfishness dies, a giving heart grows!

I'm just addressing generalities in an attempt to say, "It's okay if your family isn't perfect - neither is mine. But we're all working on loving one another anyway!!"

Peter gave me great encouragement regarding this. He says -
  • live in harmony
  • be sympathetic
  • love as brothers
  • be compassionate and humble so that-
You may inherit blessing!!
(I Peter 3:8-9)

Now there's something to be giving thanks about! Smile.

Hopefully, you'll get a moment to quiet your own heart and ponder this truth today. And in the midst of grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, boisterous nieces and nephews you'll be encouraged to know, "We may not look like Norman Rockwell's clan. But we all come from the same DNA thread and we're loving each other in spite of ourselves. And that's REAL!"

Blessings to you and yours on this Thanksgiving Day!

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