Some friends of mine started something called "Family Time" while we were trudging our way through college. This time was spent sharing what we were thankful for, however trivial or complex, over a meal together. I miss Family Time. Family Time wasn't about the content of our conversation while we were seated, or even the endearing words that were often spoken to the group by even the toughest at the table. Family Time was special, at least in my opinion, because of the commitment we held in our hearts towards our relationships with one another and with our God.
There was one Family Time that I remember being kind of thrown off by. One of our biggest and strongest, the one that usually gave something funny as an example of thanks on his turn, became teary-eyed as he shared the closeness that he felt towards those gathered around him in that moment. He opened his heart enough for us to glimpse a speck of vulnerability that I believe he only ever had shown to those he truly trusted. We were only college buddies. I mean, I have no idea at this point (post grad) where we will all end up in 10 years, or even 5 . . . But God did something special in our group. "Just college buddies" ended up being a 2nd family, often more honest than our first.
I miss my Family Time but I've noticed something really amazing in the last few weeks that I have lived at home again, in my home-town, and with my first family . . . Community is often what you bring to the table. I really don't think my toughest friend that shared so openly before, would have ever done so without the example of a few of the more outwardly sensitive family members at previous Family Time events. I take that now as a lesson. My first family is blood. Most of the time, it's thicker than water. I like to think that Living Water can sometimes fill in the gap where sin has destroyed the blood. Or that maybe Christ's blood can trump any wandering soul, leaving an empty seat at the table. With that said though, I may have never experienced a community with my first family that felt as honest and spiritually tied as my second family to this point but I can now that I have lived the example of the last.
My goal is community. Not just with my relatives but with my town. An effort to forget the past as needed and champion the future in retrospect of the unearthed and it's expected healing! It's time. It's time to be the change. Oh Gandhi. My new/old world has so many pleasant things in it already upon my arrival. I'm so happy here. I cannot begin to downgrade God's provision of blessing in this place. I'm living every day thankful that my first family has reached out in community to me and that they have room and love for me in their busy lives! I do, however, wish to bring to this familiar and yet so long long-distance table a refreshment of fellowship, a learned moment from the past few years . . . Family Time. A time to gather and be thankful with whomever God places around my table in His sovereignty. Family Time is really God's Time.
(The previous pics represent just a few of the people that I have shared Family Time with)
Mark 5:19 (Jesus said) . . ."Go home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you.