Every two years we manage to gather our growing family for a brief time of vacationing together. Not an every year thing–too many people, too many schedules, too many details to work out.
We all look forward to this time together. As different as our kids are from one another, there’s a deep appreciation for each other’s differences and uniquenesses.
It doesn’t mean we don’t disagree or fight. All that is part of the family vacation.
We’ve rented a house for four days in Winter Park, Colorado. Up in the mountains with plenty of bedrooms–and bathrooms–for all involved, it’s been a perfect setting for our time together. Two coffee pots in the kitchen! They knew the caffeine needed by our crew was substantial.
It’s not exactly what I wanted.
My son and his family couldn’t join us. They’re heading to a wedding of a friend in Germany that was the right decision to make. But I miss them and their three boys, who love their cousins dearly and would have added to the spark and fun of all the kids here.
My son-in-law hasn’t had the chance to come yet. They live in Denver, but their dog got sick, then he got sick (not the same!), and being here right now isn’t working for him.
My youngest retore her ACL playing soccer about a week ago, during our conference. She’s greatly limited in how she can get around on crutches and is still in quite a bit of pain. It limits her involvement in activities.
I get all that.
Unmet expectations are hard to deal with. It’s disappointing. As we’ve done things together, I keep imagining what it would look like to have everyone here. How the dynamic would have worked. What combined responses would have been different? I love having my family all together–it’s a mother hen instinct, surrounding myself with my chicks, wanting all of them present and happy.
I recognize not all families enjoy one another. I’m truly fortunate that the kids choose to be with us. I’m grateful for their willingness to put up with all that doesn’t work during these times to contribute to the memories we make.
I love my family.
God loves His family more.
I’ve had discussions with many who wonder why a loving God would allow so much pain in the world. To say He allows it ignores the fact that we have free will to choose what we do and how we impact others. We’re not marionettes controlled by a cosmic Puppet Master who acts on whims.
He made us all, and we’re His family. He grieves when His children choose to hurt others, with words or actions. He mourns our inability to accept one another in our differences.
He waits to give as many as possible opportunities to get to know Him and His love.
He longs for us all to know His forgiveness. To experience His hope.
He won’t make that choice for us. We must choose His family if we want to be part of what He offers–guaranteed eternity with Him.
Family times just won’t be the same if we’re not all there.