When Will was little (not that at 7 he is so very – very big) – he used to say that he was “thinking BIG thinks” when he was pondering something important. Thinking big thinks has become part of the McFarland family dialect. (Doesn’t every family have one of their own?)
Anyway – this week I have been thinking big thinks. Actually – I have been thinking lots and lots of big thinks.
First – I have been feeling a bit unmoored about Easter. It occurred to me a few weeks ago that I have never – ever – ever missed worshiping in a sanctuary on Easter morning. I have always – always – always gone to church on Easter.
I missed Christmas Eve worship once in 2012 thanks to the December 21st arrival of Mr. “Big Thinks” himself. But I have never missed an Easter worship service. And yes – I do know that we can worship the Lord anywhere – but I am stubborn. I wanted to worship on Easter morning where I wanted to worship . . . (Hmmm – I am sure that there is an important lesson there – but let’s just move on.)
One of the absolute highlights of my year is standing in front of all of my sisters and brothers in Christ on Easter morning and declaring – “He is risen! He is risen indeed!” I will be honest – that just plain rocks! And it just isn’t going to happen this year. (Marilyn always joins in with so much gusto and such an amazingly big, gorgeous smile that she alone makes it soooo much fun!)
I could probably get the McFarland men to do it with me – but it just wouldn’t be the same.
Second – I am still grieving and I know that always makes me this way. I think lots and lots of big thinks when I am grieving. I have spent a lot of time thinking about treasured memories lately. I have wandered around in my mind a fair bit over the past few days. (No rude comments from the peanut gallery please!) I close my eyes and I am 18 again and I am sitting on the dock – hanging out and just talking with Aunt Jannie, Jason, Todd, and Uncle Herschel. We are all just swapping stories – telling tall tales – laughing – enjoying the heat of a summer evening in rural Indiana and delighting in great company.
At first these memories made me cry. I miss Aunt Jannie. She was a blessing from our Lord in my life. I regret that I didn’t tell her how much she meant to me often enough.
I am sorry that I didn’t tell her how much it meant to me that she welcomed me so warmly into her heart and into her family. I wish that I had told her that she was an awesome role model on sharing and giving love. She had a huge heart and she was generous with her love. She was generous and genuine in a way that people in my family of origin just never were.
Honestly I was really taken aback by her warmth and generosity, but then I just fell in love with Aunt Jannie and Uncle Herschel. Their warmth, love, and kindness wrapped you in a warm hug that you carried with you wherever you went.
And soon I was smiling – because I should have told Aunt Jannie how much she meant to me more often. I absolutely should have told her how much her love and kindness and generosity meant to me – but even though I didn’t say it enough – I can still give our Lord thanks for her love. I can still give thanks for those long ago humid summer evenings at the lake – for the jokes – for the shared laughter – for the companionship – and for the blessing of family.
Some family we are born into – some family we marry into and some family (like our church family) we choose or it may choose us.
So here is my Big Think for today – I have decided to tell other people how much they mean to me. I can tell other people in my life that I appreciate them and give our Lord thanks for them. I have decided to learn an important lesson – I will give God thanks for Aunt Jannie, and I will be more vocal about my appreciation of the people in my life. I will give thanks more often (much – much more often). I will tell God that I appreciate these special people, and I will tell these people too. And I won’t care if the rest of the world thinks that I am being silly or emotional or goofy or well – whatever. I will be different.
I don’t think that I am being too sappy or too melodramatic or too pastor-y when I say to you that I think we should all use some of our time right now to think some “big thinks.” To think about what matters to us. And perhaps to think about what God wants for us and for our lives.
We all can choose to be changed by these times. We can opt for a new approach to life and living.
What are you thinking about these days? I would love to know!
In Christ and with Love –