Friday found us making the long drive to Mom and Dad's.
The gift of going home is not lost on me.
It is a gift and a treasure.
Our kids playing with their cousins, endless lil Gator rides, kittens, trampoline, Grandpa and Grandma at their beck and call.
Dinner beginning at eight, under the stars and a table long enough for all 25 of us. White lights and paper lanterns strung high in the trees; music and great food against the backdrop of laughter and cornfields and my heart squeezes.
I'm thinking of all the work it takes as a parent to get to this point, where your kids wanna come home and see you.
I'm thinking of all the relationship work it is to sit around the same table and not hold onto scars and bitterness, but rather forgive and choose love.
I'm thinking of all the many people I know who would give anything to have an evening like ours in their lives- a place, a time where you can be accepted for who you are, loved unconditionally, to laugh and belong.
I'm thinking of the line from Jacob's new favorite song,
all I can do is thank You for this life I never deserved
We put kids to bed in the farmhouse, some upstairs and some down and some out in the outbuilding-turned-guesthouse and we linger and talk and savor the everyone is together moment.
Life is hard and cold and our family is not immune to grief, problems, stress, worry. God was gracious to my dad and he is looking great after being involved in a hit and run accident earlier in July; my brother is on crutches after breaking his ankle in a softball injury. My sister-in-law has just home from the funeral of her cousin, one of the nineteen firefighters killed in Arizona, and the brief window of life is something we're all aware of as we gather.
Life is hard.
How much stronger we are to share life together. How much sweeter. The good times and bad, you know, the bitter and sweet, it's cliche, but it's so true. . . it's so much better shared.
I get all introspective as I sit on a couch that someone moved outside, in our little heavenly mix of Martha Stewart meets Redneck, listening to the happiness and music and just drinking it all in, rest for my weary soul.
What if I couldn't go home?
What if the soul-care wasn't there?
What if Mom and Dad had thrown in the towel?
What if Dad had bowed to the gods of money and success?
What if Mom hadn't poured her life out?
What if we weren't loved?
What if we hadn't been
encouraged forced to get along?
As a parent, I think of all that we want our children to succeed at; and moments like these make me resolve to help them succeed at things that matter; character and relationships and loving well.
I wanna make my kids want to come home, not to stay, not to be stifled, not to cling, but to be able to regroup and recharge and relax and renew.