A little over a week ago I was with family – not family I’m related to by blood, but family I married into. It was Jan’s family reunion out in the thriving metropolis of Lawn, Texas If you want a quiet, slower pace of life that’s one place to go. I’ve been moaning about having to make this 7-8 hour trip to just east of nowhere. But, as I think about that trip now, and as God has put this idea of community in the front of my brain, I have to reconsider how I classify that trip. I learned more than I knew.
The biggest issue of the family reunion is the fact that my mother-in-law has Alzheimer’s. I have always been a fan of my father-in-law, but my admiration has increased 100-fold as he cares for his wife with such dedication. Let me just say that this is a cruel disease that turns life inside out – sometimes I think it’s more accurate to say the family has Alzheimer’s. Family gatherings are different these days because the mood and behavior of my mother-in-law is not always predictable or easily handled. I won’t get into details because those don’t really matter.
Here’s the point of all of this in my life. I watched a community of family who worked together, shared the work of caring, and simply loved well. When my mother-in-law was out of sorts and one person couldn’t get her moving in the right direction another person would step in and give it a try. When she needed help getting some things done there was no shortage of people who were willing to step up. I watched love in action at a time when love was not always easy or fun. Just to be around that kind loving community makes an impact on a person.
I saw the words and commands of Jesus lived out in front of me:
This is my command: Love one another the way I loved you. This is the very best way to love. Put your life on the line for your friends. (John 15:12-13 MSG)
I traveled round trip 14-15 hours to a place I have referred to as “east of nowhere”. God has shown me the trip was well worth my time and effort and the best view had nothing to do with the landscape.
Thanks be to God that he is willing to “reprogram” my self-centered thinking. Maybe today I’ll look at things with more clarity. Hope you do as well.
Holy high five to you, Mike.