Yesterday was a day celebration – reflection – and thanksgiving at our house – because seventeen years ago Jason and I got to meet John McFarland (better known to most as Jack) officially for the very first time. We were so excited to meet our son. And I was so very – very ready to have my ribs back. I was really and truly tired of sharing them with Jack’s busy little feet!
Yes – we had been spending a fair amount of time together over the last 9 months. Yes – we knew that Jack was incredibly active and prone to the hiccups (both of which remained true for years). Yes – we knew our Jack slept less than most babies (and oh my how true that proved to be)! But we didn’t feel like we had been formally introduced.
And now for the past 17 years – as Jack has gotten to know himself – we too have gotten to know him. And what an honor – blessing and privilege it has been to share these past 17 years with our boy.
I truly believe that sharing this life with other people is one of life’s greatest blessings. (It can also be one of life’s greatest challenges too – but challenges are good for us. Challenges make us stronger and tend to make us and life a lot more interesting!)
Healthy – loving – respectful relationships are sacred stuff.
One of the coolest things about these sorts of mutual relationships is the way in which we can learn and grow simply by being in relationship with one another. I delight in the way that we can learn from one another if we allow ourselves to be open to it.
Seeing other folks’ perspectives on life will bless us if we allow ourselves to be open to it. (Of course – we have to be open to the idea that not everyone is going to approach life from our perspective for this to work!)
Listening and learning and being truly present in the moment with another person is seriously cool.
Jack has taught me so much just by being himself over the years. I have grown and learned so much by knowing him.
Early on – Jack taught me that sleep is for wimps and other babies and other families – but McFarlands don’t need to sleep. (I am not kidding or exaggerating when I say that our firstborn son rejected sleep.)
Jack reminded me that grass feels great between your toes!
That the great outdoors is always calling. . .
That sometimes you really do need to call your Papa to check in and let him know how things are going. . . (Jack loved to call Jason’s dad when he was a toddler and would chatter away at Bob endlessly.)
Jack taught me that laundry baskets aren’t just for laundry. They make awesome sailing ships and racing cars and trains and spaceships.
Jack reminded me that buckets and baskets and other containers make great hats and that we should all use our imaginations every single day!
Jack taught me that cousins are awesome. (I was never close to my own cousins.)
Jack taught me that snakes are seriously cool. (I am still working on this one.)
Jack is teaching me that math is cool and has been since his first days of kindergarten when he fell in love with all things math-y.
Jack taught me that siblings really can love – care – and respect one another. He is a wonderful brother to Will.
Jack has also taught me that climbing is cool. I tend to be someone who likes to keep both of her feet firmly on terra firma.
I could go on and on. Jack has taught me so very – very much over the past 17 years. And I truly give thanks for all that our son has taught me.
What about you? What have the people in your lives taught you? How have they blessed you? What have you learned from knowing them and sharing this life with them?
I encourage you to think about this and then share it. Tell your son that you love him and you give thanks for the way that he taught you to appreciate tall trees or fast cars or the color yellow or whatever it is that he taught you. Tell your friend that you give thanks for the way that she taught you to appreciate crisp fall mornings and a cup of coffee with someone special.
I encourage you to tell the people in your life that you are thankful for them and for all the blessings that they bring into your life simply because they are who they are. I truly don’t think we do this often enough. I don’t think we speak our words of appreciation and thanks often enough.
I know that I give thanks for you. I give thanks for my sisters and brothers in Christ and for our Christian community.
In Christ and with Love –