For our Thanksgiving celebration this year we admitted not one, but both of my wife’s parents to the hospital. Large family gathering with six people missing. Children playing, laughter, food but so much was lacking. We watched the football games but knew that dad would have enjoyed the Lions winning. We ate our fill but still felt empty with mom not picking on someone or saying something that made us laugh.
And it makes us question things. What did their lives mean? What was the point of it all?
They lived as simple farmers, raising kids and crops. They lived for and loved Jesus with everything, though they never witnessed to millions or held a large crusade. They held their doors open, accepting many a wayward child to their table, to their hearts. And I’ll always be glad that they allowed me into their family, a rebel punk so far from their ideal son-in-law, but loved just the same.
They attended a small church that did very little but serve and give and feed. Disasters were met with quiet, busy hands that rebuilt, restored, cleaned and fed once again. Anyone was welcome and Jesus was held in awe, in reverence. Life was taught and lived with humility and grace.
My mom and dad (they’re mine too) never gave much thought to themselves, driving all of us crazy. The injuries he sustained still make us cringe and shake our heads since it rarely stopped him from finishing his work. The strokes he endured. And, though frustrated and discouraged, he never allowed his faith in God’s goodness to waver. The pain she tolerated, often barely able to stand, yet always helping, always serving, always giving. Quiet, peaceful was this woman, but oh, she had fire too.
My heart hurts right now for them, for this family, as they go through this difficult time. But I’ll take my cue from them and not feel sorry for myself or for them, there is no reason to.
They are a blessed people. They are a family that loves each other, stands with each other. They would give the shirt off their backs to anyone in need but family means more. I get to be a part of that. I get to see their love and faith in action, beyond fanfare, beyond glitz and rhetoric and fame. I have seen joy knowing them.
I have known joy being a part of this family.
Quite a legacy, no matter how long they stay in their earthly shells. A gift that, with all my heart, I would give to my children.