Last week, we felt impressed to schedule a flight for Chris to go see his parents for the weekend. His dad has been hospitalized a few times over the past 6 weeks for blood transfusions, and he’s 86. Whether he rallies and lives another several years or begins a decline, we want to take every opportunity to spend with them. We love them so dearly.
The flight was costly, but we were prepared to purchase it. A beautiful and sacrificial gift came to Chris in the form of points from his sister. She had saved them up all summer! We are so thankful for her and know that God will bring the blessing upon her doubly for how she freely gave to Chris. I am teary-eyed just thinking about it. Such a beautiful gift!
When Chris arrived in Longview, Texas, rather than his parents, it was his brother, who picked him up. His dad was in the hospital again for more blood. They were able to soon take his dad back home, and they had one of the most wonderful weekends together. The family even had the hard discussion of talking about the will and final arrangements for both of his parents.
Now me? That would be so hard. And I would be so weepy the whole time! But for Chris’ family? It was filled with laughter and cutting up. The difference their family has made on my own mental and spiritual health is PRECISELY because they can talk about the end of this life, knowing that we have eternity together in Christ–and they can LAUGH about it. I am still learning the HOW of it, but oh how I LOVE how his family interacts.
Of course there will come days, when we all will cry together. And that is hard. But it is part of life. And as a wise man once told his own family, “Goodbye is a necessary life skill.” Thank you, Keith Moore. We couldn’t agree more!
I think one of the most important things in this life is embracing every aspect of this life–the joy and the pain. It makes the joy all the more sweet. And laughter and tears are integral to a healthy mindset. We need to be free with both…and hold back nothing of either.
Another lagniappe to the weekend for Chris was a very special book–Know When to Hold ‘Em. The High Stakes Game of Fatherhood. On Thursday I texted my friend Meredith, for her husband has just written a book on fatherhood. And I thought it would be the best parenthesis around Chris’ weekend. So we went to pick it up Thursday night and had the very best visit with the Blases! It was so good that we even left our car running in their driveway for about thirty minutes without even thinking about it. Ha! They are special people! I will be giving away John’s book here on this blog soon. But if you feel impatient about it, go buy it!
Chris said it was a fantastic book! And he is not a gusher, like I am, nor does he give praise lightly. He even marked his book up with pictures of teardrops, where he got so very verklempt. So go and get it!
LIST OF MARGINAL THINGS
My list will be short today and longer later this week. So far on this social media fast, here are things I have been able to do that I might not have taken time or space for otherwise:
1) Read two books! Happy, Happy, Happy by Phil Robertson…a beautiful book about how God rescues and saves from the ugliest of pits. Also I read Miles to Go: A Second Journal of the Walk Series by Richard Paul Evans. A friend turned me on to this series this summer, when we were headed on our two week camping vacation up to Canada and back. I could totally see myself walking across the country like this. Sometimes you just gotta walk.
2) Roller-skating— I took Sydney to a party on Saturday, and though I had firmly said I wouldn’t roller-skate, I DID. It was hard and funny at first, but I slowly fell back into it. It has been twenty years since I last put on a pair of skates. AND I WAS SCARED! But I did it! I did it well, even backwards! And I did not fall, which is another lagniappe, because I’m not as slight as I was twenty years ago.
3) Hosted a middle school girls’ party–our Kylie is about to turn 14. While I have heard terror stories about this age, Kylie just doesn’t fit that ticket. She is kind and considerate–and funny, which is an added bonus! Not only that, but she has a leadership skill that is forming in her at such a young age. I pray that God will guide her and show how how to best use her gift of leading. So our house was completely FULL on Friday night. I think we had over twenty-five people here. I love a full house—love, love, love it!
Making space in my day through this social media fast has enabled me to be more intentional in the time allotted to me each day. And in light of the earlier story about Chris’ family, I want to make the days and moments count. For we all make such a difference in the places in which we make time deposits. I wonder, are we depositing into that which we really value?
Abba, may we truly deposit every part of our lives into that which we value. May we be intentional in every part. Help us to love, when it’s hard, and make people a priority. Help us to allow the hard parts of our lives to really count, by immersing ourselves in honestly facing it–with laughter and with tears. Make us an instrument of Your peace, in the process. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.