Friday, February 18, 2011
In the years since the holiday gatherings, our families have grown, grown up, and, it seems, grown apart. With some exceptions, family gatherings seem to center around who is getting either married or buried. Last summer we did have a picnic reunion, with much of the family able to attend. There were some cousins I had not seen since I was very, very, very young; and others that I had kept more in touch with. But at the same time, there were several who could not be there. The last “reunion” had been at Auntie’s funeral, nearly three years earlier. Why so long between cousin sightings? Lots of reasons – money, work, distance, and time seem to be the largest common denominator. OK, so the in-person, face-to-face family reunion is not always a practical feat to pull off.
For those who might not know, I’m part of a small blogging group, where we write from the same writing prompt week. Last week’s topic was “Family Reunions” and this week’s is “How Busy Is Too Busy?” (Since I’m running a bit behind in my writing, I decided to combine the two.) A few days before I sat down to write this, I posted a question on my Facebook status, asking what people thought about family reunions. Answers ranged from the amount of work and planning involved and the simple logistics of making one happen, to knowing that there are people weirder than themselves in the family, to the awkwardness of the whole thing.
Awkward? A Coble thinks family reunions are awkward? You know, in a way, I agree with that Coble. It’s awkward to see people you haven’t kept in touch with in recent years. Life does get busy. Job schedules get in the way of our having fun. Kids and sports take up a lot of weekends. But I think there is a deeper reason why we feel awkward getting together over burgers and visiting in the park.
We just aren’t as close-knit as we once were, or wish we were. We may be family by blood or marriage, but we don’t know each other. Relationship-wise, some of us are practically strangers. Oh, if we passed each other on the street we’d stop and talk a few minutes, but be honest. If we drew names for a gift exchange, how many of us could buy a personal, meaningful gift (meaning no cash or gift cards) without the aid of a wish-list or input from the recipient’s immediate family members?
Here’s an idea. You can do whatever you want with it – take it as it is, ignore it, improve it, it’s all up to you.
Let’s give it a try. What do you say?
at 8:14 PM
Saturday, February 05, 2011
|Photo by pollyscards
Selling a house is not easy, even when it is the right thing to do. My initial meeting with my real estate agent was in October, and the house went on the market officially in November. It was about three weeks later when I walked out my front door and saw the “For Sale” sign on my front lawn.
And I cried. I wasn’t crying happy tears. No, I was crying the hot, fat wet tears that form rivers on your cheeks, threatening to suffocate you until you finally allow yourself to feel, and you cry some more because what you are feeling is worthy of the tears. Even though I knew for some time that I would see the sign, and even though I knew that in the long run the sale would be a good thing for me, nothing could prepare me for how I would feel when I was faced with the evidence that I would soon have to surrender my house keys to a stranger and leave the place I called home for the past several years. I think I cried for nearly an hour that day.
Today my realtor called to let me know there is a potential buyer who wants to submit an offer on the house. This means that the house could go into escrow as early as next week. In a real estate agent’s world, that is great news. In Mary’s world, there was mixed emotions. I held back the hot, wet, fat river tears until the phone conversation ended. I was faced with more evidence that I will no longer call Cerritos Ave. home. But this time the tears lasted all of about three minutes. I started thinking about what the next home would be like. What would the floor plan be like? Would it be one story, or two? What features will be there? What kind of furniture? Carpet? Window treatments? Would I have neighbors from hell (like Mr. Goober) again? It brought me comfort to think of what my future could be like (even the part about the Goobers).
Someday I will have to leave my home on earth. It’s a thing called “death.” We all will have to face it for ourselves, and we will have to face the death of a loved one at some point. Even though we all know death is coming, for some there is no way to prepare ourselves for how we will react. There will be the hot, wet, fat river tears threatening suffocation. The tears will last for quite some time; they may seem to last forever.
There is comfort though. Even though there is an unavoidable surrender of our lives on earth, there is another home waiting for us. The Bible speaks often of our eternal relocation. Jesus speaks to his disciples of our new dwelling place that awaits us: “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.” Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 5:1, “For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands.” And the apostle John does his best to share with us his first-hand glimpse of heaven in Revelation 21-22. But John's description cannot adequately describe our new home because “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.”
Emotions may overcome us when we face death. The emotions are what let us know we are alive. But for those who believe, the tears will not last for eternity, for once we enter our new home Jesus will wipe every tear from our eyes.
at 9:46 PM