My son Lee stayed two nights with us this week. Daughter Rachel came for a few hours on Wednesday, and daughter-in-law Sue Beth left last Sunday after a week’s visit. Our granddaughter April, a teacher, lives with us during the school year.
Kinship. When it works well, it’s a taste of heaven, and our family has been greatly blessed. When it’s broken………hell for real. Family dysfunction is not pretty.
We did not choose the family of our birth. I think about that often. What if I had been born to hardened criminals or abusive parents or was a throwaway child? Some unfortunates have overcome the obstacles—perhaps through missionaries, a caring relative or adoptive parents, or maybe through a direct, spiritual makeover.
I am reading a book that I wish I could put in everyone’s hands. The author, a Catholic priest who works with gangbangers, has a powerful chapter on kinship. He starts by quoting Mother Teresa’s diagnosis of the world’s ills: “We’ve just forgotten that we belong to each other,” then goes on to say,
“We imagine [God’s] circle of compassion. Then we imagine . . . moving ourselves closer to the margins so the margins themselves will be erased. We stand with those whose dignity has been denied. We locate ourselves with the poor and powerless and voiceless. At the edges, we join the easily despised and the readily left out. . . . We situate ourselves next to the disposable so the day will come when we stop throwing people away. . . . Kinship is what God presses us on to, always hopeful that its time has come. (p. 190)
I love my children and their spouses—precious gifts from God. But this love package, so graciously given to us, drives me to move toward the edges where I can breathe love on the unlovely, the friendless, the pain bearers.
Will you join me there?
The wonderful book that feeds me so profoundly? Tattoos on the Heart by Gregory Boyle. Amazon paperback $9.25: http://www.amazon.com/Tattoos-Heart-Power-Boundless-Compassion/dp/1439153159/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1456407284&sr=1-1&keywords=tattoos+on+the+heart+by+gregory+boyle You will laugh hysterically and cry, almost on the same page.
Please tell me your backstory, whether of great blessing or painful struggle.
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