I played enough sports to know that if you take hit to the “privates” or you get hit in an eye or the solar plexus, you stay down until the world stops spinning. You just suck it in and relax and let the pain ebb. And I have been around my 58 years and endured some losses and some crazy times that have removed my breath.
Today (5/2/14) I found out something so shocking, honestly it “took my breath away”. Something I thought to be true had changed yet one more time. But this time the results were not like the first time of change. Back then I had someone to “hold” on to and at least walk through it. Today, I am the big kid, the one stuck with the knowledge.
While talking to someone I knew only a bit, I was asked if someone with the same last name might be a relative. I said most likely “my Uncle Al”. A little while later an email came with the obituary attached. Not long after, I was bewildered, pained and a number of other emotions.
The issue is mine and no one else’s. And I can leave it at that. Despite the pain, I am choosing the “right” way.
I am a family man. I grew up in a generation where life was different and I recognize that. One of my reasons for encouraging families is because I know what it is like to not have people and your family around. I know what it is to have both parents work and see babysitters and teachers. I know what it is to have parents divorce. I know the pain of alcoholism, addiction and abuse.
But I found the answer in the person of Jesus Christ. And I changed.
My mom was born in 1926 and the only child of my grandmother and grandfather. It was not my grandfather’s first marriage. He had been married before, in the 1920’s and he had other children. But my mom’s twin half brothers never knew about her or she about them until months before her death in 2001. That is life was in those days. People did not often get divorced in the early 1900’s.
My dad’s story was a little different, a little weirder. He was born in New York in 1927 (Despite his license recording 1926. He lied to enter the military but I found 1940 census paperwork.) For many a year, I only knew his grandmother, his sister and his two brothers. There was no dad in his life. After his mom died, I never saw his sister. One of my uncles lived in upper state New York and his stepson came to live me with us. After a drunken, drugged summer he left and I never saw him again. His oldest brother I have not see though at 104 he is still alive. And last week his other brother passed away at 97. I never knew any of these people . My father never seemed to connect.
One day some 20 plus years ago my father came home and said he had “found out different” about some things. And it got weirder for him. Harder. Another harsh twist of life in regard to his parents.
So here I am, the oldest of 4 children. We are pretty much “it”. As I write this my sister is building homes in Nicaragua, one brother in southern Massachusetts and another in Bar Harbor Maine. I work to stay in contact with them. Phone calls, Facebook, email.
And then I have my children. 5 children. Each month I work hard to plan a family get together. With new babies and older grandchildren and their sports it is sometimes harder. But as a parent you must work on the “family” piece. (Even if it means you pray and sometimes have to “sacrifice” a little.)
I know many who have children scattered across the nation and I understand it is hard. But family is not something you can replace.
Begin to sow prayer in to your families. Invest in them.
Young parents. This is the opportunity for you to connect the dots for the children you have. Beginning now to keep family ties is all important. As difficult as it is, plug in where and when you can. Do not let finances and work pull you out of your family. (I made that mistake in my early years.)
Family gatherings are NOT the time for debates and open disagreement. It is the time to remember the roots of our existence. It is the time to be in relationship. My first attempts were hard. There were difficulties that needed to be worked out. People had to resolve differences. But you will never see resolution until the attempts are made.
I look at the pain and the suffering that was found in the relationships my parents did NOT have. My own world shattered just a few short days ago. All the more reason I know and speak of the need to seek unity.
As my youngest brother battles cancer and my middle brother multiple health issues, I find myself wanting to do more. One I talk to a number of times a week. The other no one really hears from. My sister is doing what she was gifted to do. I can not remember the last time we were all in one room.
I know the difficulties and challenges of family. But, I also see the need for it and why we lay down things for others. If you love you will reap!