Life has many blessings. The more we look for the blessings in our moments, the more we will find them. This week I have experienced more than my average quota of blessings. You see, my out-of-town family has come around for a time of good conversation, dining on summer food fare, lively discussion, and even some working together toward a common goal. We've come from Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and California, to spend this precious time as a family. This past week I have enjoyed times with four of my five children, all of my siblings, a cousin and her family, my aunt, a niece and her two toddlers, my son-in-law, and my two grandchildren plus my parents and others as well. I counted twenty-five at a BBQ dinner I hosted this week. It is such a blessing to be together. My brother recently said to me that we have a heritage, a shared meaning as a family---something we are fortunate to have and will always cherish. He was commenting that our children are fortunate as well, to have this rich heritage. He is right. Not everyone is so lucky, or blessed. I thank God for this.
In three more days the last of the out-of-towners will be gone. The house will seem silent, empty, and sad. I'm already missing them---and only the first set has left. It is called "love." Love brings us close and holds us tight. Love binds us together. Love keeps us from fighting and from holding grudges. Love makes us generous and forgiving. The way of love keeps my siblings and me from suffering from the "me" complex, always being careful to not offend or hurt each other. We defer to each other. It is a tremendous gift of beauty we are willing to extend to our family members. My own children, as well, have this same courtesy and love for each other. Although their love is quiet, less expressed, it is unselfish, kind, active, and alive. Four of them are young adults, but they understand that family matters, and that love is an action verb. I experience delight in watching them connect and respond to each other. Our times together are rare, making this a significant part of being in proximity.
We have our problems, too, but the problems pale in comparison to the blessings.
Thank you, dear God, for this week of blessings, for my family, for their love and encouragement, and for the graciousness of their love and affection. Thank you, for Your part in making us strong, and helping us when we are weak, for protecting us during the hard times, and for answering our prayers for each other. Father, God, You are the Greatest Blessing of all. Amen