This weekend has been a whirlwind of family and fun. We didn’t travel this year, but hosted everyone here in Raleigh. My parents took the lion’s share of sleeping arrangements and everyone spent Thanksgiving Day at our house. All weekend I would see little glimpses of things, sparks really, that were memories of my own childhood.
All the nieces and nephews are older now. They aren’t kids. They don’t need plastic plates or sippy cups. They’re like, real people! That was a major shift from last year for me. I don’t know that much really changed in just one year. Maybe it wasn’t them at all, but just the way I see them.
Yes. I think that is it. Because I was the youngest of the family. And even when there were kids around, I was still the youngest adult. This is no longer true.
Jerry often jokes that I am 35 because I am “in my 35th year” (I am 34 btw). And I certainly know that 34 or even 35 or any number of years beyond that isn’t considered OLD. Still, there’s something to be said for that distance from singledom and college life. There is a shift. For a while, it’s just been that I am learning how to be the mom and the wife and the teacher. But there’s more. I am learning (always learning) to be the daughter and the sister and the Aunt.
We went to a different church to see my dad preach yesterday. The whole family was in attendance, which in an of itself was special. But after years of learning in my Father’s church and then years of learning in Vintage21, I felt like I was listening with new ears.
You know how when your parents or grandparents tell stories sometimes, you sort of fall into line? I’m not sure how to describe it. But after so many years you hear the words and you know where they will take you. Even if you don’t know the end of the story, you do and you make your judgments based on what you think you will hear based on a lifetime of listening.
I’ve often wished I could go back in time to interview my mom’s dad. He was truly one of a kind. A farmer. Gentle. Strong. And I really don’t know much at all about his childhood. Or how he decided to become a Christ follower. Or why he respected education so much in the 60s that he refused to let my mom marry my dad until she graduated college. I don’t know about his political leanings. But I do know that in the 20 years my Grandmother lived after his passing, she never once removed her wedding rings.
And I think about these things. And I get a little sad and wish I could know the answers. How did I get so blessed to be included in this heritage? And I am so grateful.
And so when I sat listening to my own Father yesterday, I thought my goodness. What a treasure. This man, who has spent his entire life trying to love Jesus. To know and do His will. To teach it to his children and grandchildren, not in a way that is simply habit forming, but in truth. He created critical hearts and minds in us to really dig deep and learn the true meanings of the bible. And he taught it by doing it himself. Even more, he’s not trying to be right. He’s trying to understand.
This is what I saw. And it was rather humbling. Sort of like removing a painting from the wall and finding a million dollars taped to the back. You always admired the painting, but really had no idea of its value. And I realized that I still have so very much to learn.
There’s gratitude. And then, there’s gratitude.