I love so many things about our family. And I am guessing that you feel the same way about your own families. Healthy, loving families are such a wonderful blessing.
My family is a family of choice. Some families you are born into and some families you choose.
The family that I have (other than Jack and Will) isn’t even genetically related to me. My family is a family of choice. There is no genetics at all involved in any of our relationships. But they are most definitely my beloved family. But you don’t need to share genetics with people to be family. I learned that years ago.
I certainly did not choose my family because we always agree. Actually – one of the things I love about them is the way that we can passionately disagree and that is okay. We laugh about how different we are. We celebrate our differences (well sometimes we do). It is okay that we are different. Our differences certainly make us a lot more interesting! Our differences are opportunities and blessings.
I had a fun experience with these differences just this weekend.
I was sitting on the front porch as my in-laws’ house this weekend when William and our nephew Nic came chattering into the yard. They were two very cute men on an important mission. They had a plan. They were talking a mile a minute and they had provisions – lots and lots of provisions. There were boards and pencils and packages of foam weather stripping. There were plans and sketches. They had die cast Nascars. (Nic almost always has one or two of those with him.) Then they headed to the shed for shovels! Wow- I thought to myself – this is going to be good!
I wandered over so that I could get a closer look and so that I could hear better too. I quickly learned that Nic and Will were building a Nascar track on which they planned to race their Nascars. But this was not going to be just any old track – no way. This was going to be a dirt track with actual – honest to goodness dirt from the flower bed! Their cars were going to get dirty like real Nascars at a real dirt track during a real Nascar race!
I am not a Nascar person. (I bet that surprises absolutely NO one!). I went to a Nascar race about 14 years ago with Jason, Bob, John, and Elizabeth and I was so bored I fell asleep in the middle of the race while knitting! My poor brother-in-law was sooooo embarrassed by me (he has gotten used to the knitting now), but we decided not to waste anymore money on me and Nascar.
But I loved watching Nic and Will build their Nascar track. I loved listening to them talk about their favorite drivers and their favorite cars. Nic is positively encyclopedic in his knowledge of all things Nascar and he is teaching Will all about it. I loved watching them dig out their dirt for their track and was delighted to get to laugh with them when they discovered that they had dug up two great big worms too. I loved listening to them discuss which drivers they thought would be the best drivers on a dirt track and I loved watching them smile and work together on a project that meant so much to them.
Nascar is not my thing. For years I always said that Dale Earnhardt Jr. was my favorite driver – but I didn’t know his number or even which team he drove for. All I knew was that he and I are the exact same age = we share the same birthdate. But now that he is retired (Nic told me) I can’t even fall back on that anymore.
But I really enjoyed my afternoon in the sun with Nic and Will as we talked all things Nascar. I loved listening to their passion. I loved learning from them. I loved being with them. I loved watching their eyes sparkle and their happy laughter was contagious.
I just sat on the wall of the flower bed and tried to take it all in. It was one of those moments that I hope I remember when my sweet boy is not longer my sweet little boy anymore. The two little boys who I love so very much. Their passion. Their sparkling eyes. Their energy and creativity. The blue sky – the green grass – the brown dirt and the pink wiggly worms. All of it. Even the Nascar stuff I don’t care all that much about.
And I gave thanks for the opportunity to be there in that moment with these two incredibly special people. And they are such very – very special people. Nic with his curly hair and big smile and passion of Nascar. Nic who has loved his Aunt Kerri’s knitting more than anyone else in our entire family. And Will with his hazel eyes and his love of disasters and astronomy and the color orange. Will who keeps me on my toes and fills my mommy heart with such joy!
And then I thought about the news. I thought to myself – we all need to remember that everyone is someone’s sweet Will. Everyone is someone’s beloved Nic. Everyone is of incredible value. Everyone – absolutely positively everyone. Our faith as Christians teaches us this. After all – in Genesis we are told that God created human beings in his image. All human beings were created in God’s image – not just some human beings. Each and every one of us. And Jesus died on the cross for all of us. Not just for some of us. Each and every one of us. Even the people who disagree with us . . .
I am not a great theologian nor am I a great philosopher – but I am a child of God and so is everyone else in the world. And when I go out into the world I am going to strive to remember that everyone else that I encounter is also a beloved child of God. And I will try to remember that they are someone’s Nic and they have passions to share and things to teach me too. I am going to try to listen and learn.
I am praying for you all and I am praying for our world.
In Christ and with Love –