One of my favorite movies of is “White Christmas”.
I know. It’s spring. But it’s been really cold.
What’s made me think of it lately is a particular scene in the movie. Rosemary Clooney and Vera Ellen played the Haynes sisters, foils for Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye. They were close—working, living and performing together.
That’s been my two sisters and me this week. I live far from them, but we’ve been together for our once-each-year special sister getaway. Time for us to be together to laugh, reminisce and ask each other the deeper questions of life.
Where will we eat dinner?
Being together has made me more aware than ever the part in my story that family plays. I’m the person I am today in part because of what my sisters have added to my life.
The good and the bad.
We fought like cats and dogs growing up. Gayle is three minutes older than I am, which technically makes me a middle child. She’s lorded her “oldest” status over me, and I’ve teased her about hitting the need for Medicare first. We both tease Janet about being the favored child, but she’s also been the unheralded peacekeeper in the family. Both of them are more organized than I am. I’m definitely more flexible. Both of them have ridiculously wonderful senses of humor.
And they both get me. Because we learned to fly from the same nest.
My Dad used to tell us, “You choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family. So you might as well learn to get along with them.”
We were given opportunities to learn to get along growing up. The three of us shared a bedroom together till Gayle and I left for college. We all sang in the youth choir at church together. We each had chores we had to do each day and on the weekends that we openly crabbed about to each other.
And now, when we rarely see each other, the layers of relationship and friendship that have been piled on, year after year, allow us to pick up where we last left off.
Grateful to see one another. Glad that someone gets our quirkiness. Downright giddy that we don’t have to explain ourselves to one another.
I know how fortunate I am. As different as we are now, as varied as our lives have become, we have a bond of love that connects us. Especially when we disagree.
The apostle John had a picture of what that love looked like. And he saw that it didn’t just relate to blood relatives.
“This is real love–not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other.” 1 John 4:10-11
There’s a greater meaning to family than any of us can appreciate. Those who choose Jesus to love and forgive them are part of a forever family. Brothers and sisters we don’t even know yet.
I’m getting a head start on the relating part with a pair of jokers I’ll never give up.