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Friends, thanks for reminding me when weeks have passed without a “Tuesdays with Maggie” post. I  love connecting with you this way and reading your comments and in many cases your own posts as well. This has been an unusual month for me with the challenge of balancing an intensive theology course along with full-time work. A tradition we always make time for, however, is Rowe Family Camp in West Virginia – an annual reunion of four generations of Mike’s extended family – his parents and 6 siblings plus 23 grandchildren and at last count about 29 greatgrands. I won’t have time today for a “Tuesdays” post, but for those interested I am reposting a few thoughts from last year’s Camp. Given the horror of what took place in Aurora, CO on Friday, it’s all the more important to hold tight to those we love and cherish every rare moment we have together.

With my love to you all,

Maggie

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What makes a family?

It’s more than simply tracing one’s lineage back to the same set of ancestors, or being grafted into a group by adoption or marriage.

A family is a place to belong – a perpetual home without walls or borders.

A family stretches to welcome new members. The ties that bind are elastic; there is always room for one more hand to hold.

In a family each generation enters the dance of life through the generation that has gone before but adds new steps and a melody of its own. The music of life swells, surges, becomes a symphony with many voices. Parents and children change places in the dance.

Members are not valued for their successes or defined by their failures. They are accepted simply because they are family.

A family is pancake breakfasts and a baby’s first dip into a pool.

A family is a sister taking up the tradition of making peanut butter fudge when Mom can no longer do it. A family is four-generation baseball with Poppa throwing out the first pitch.

A family is banter and tears. Texting and Facebook. Card games and late nights. The first to arrive waits for the last to get ready so none are left behind.

It’s trying new things and respecting old ways. Poring through yellowing albums and exclaiming over a great aunt’s treasures. It’s sharing memories that are meaningless outside the circle of sisters and brothers, kith and kin.

And when the last cabin is swept and the bags are packed, it’stime to part for another year.  The marvelous mess of a family reunited sorts itself into vehicles marked Colorado and Louisiana, Illinois and Indiana, New York and Pennsylvania. Voices call farewell and are swallowed up by the West Virginia hills.

Family Camp is over for another year. Life camp will end someday too.

But on the other side of the ridge, just where the taillights disappear, awaits a reunion not yet seen – a final homecoming so grand it can only be imagined.

And there, too, we will be family.

“God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them.He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” Revelation 21: 3-4