Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Family thoughts

I am finally getting to my first post. It is late but it will start now because I need to get some thoughts out of my head before I can fall asleep.

My dad is turning 60 soon and it would be awesome to have his 4 kids home for his birthday but it most likely won't happen. The odd thing is that I will probably be his only child back in my hometown, Jamestown, ND when he turns the big 6-0. I never thought I would be the kid that goes back home for celebrations like this. I thought for sure it would be my sister who is the farthest away in Germany but probably still the most in touch with my parents. I never thought I would be living the closest to my parents, in distance, either. I am however about 6 1/2 hours away from them in Rochester, MN. I love my parents and think they did a great job raising me and investing in my life but at the same time, I don't feel bad at all about living far away from them. They are important people to me but I am happy and fine with seeing them only a couple times a year. At the same time, it has been quite nice to see them about every other month for the last year and a half. We get along really well and have lots of fun together, maybe that loving relationship just sticks with me even when I didn't see them very often while I lived in Arlington, VA for 7 years.

I have noticed that God has been working on me internally in regards to family relationships. A couple months ago, my pastor, C. John Steer, at Autumn Ridge Church said something that has stuck with me. He said that the longest relationships in our lives are usually those we share with our siblings. I never thought about that before but it seems to be true because they are born about the same time as you and you grow up with them until you leave home around 18 years old. You remain in contact with them in those developing years in your 20s while you are getting married and having kids. Then they usually become significant again about retirement age or when friends and family start dying. They usually end up dying about the same time as you too, just because of average death age. Anyway, you spend a lot of years keeping in touch with your siblings, if you like them.

I do like my siblings quite a bit and sometimes wish I knew them better. It makes me think of the passage in the Bible where Jesus tells some guy that he should leave his family to come follow him. And from that passage Christians hear the message of family should be less important than following Christ. I believe this to be true and most people need to hear this message but for me, I probably should concentrate more on passages about respecting and honoring your parents and loving your family. It seems easier for me to leave my family if I felt I had a mission to fulfill that took me away from them than it would be for others. It also seems easier for me to be disconnected from my family and not care. I may not know the latest happenings in their lives but it doesn't really bother me. That statement now bothers me because it doesn't seem very loving. Anyway, I feel that the Holy Spirit is speaking to me and causing me to feel more love and commitment to my family at this time in my life.

I just spent the last hour talking with my parents and both of my brothers, all of which are in different states, which is highly unusual for me and maybe that is why this conversation in my head needed to come out. I also have been reflecting on the 3 days I took out of my Christmas-time to spend with my husband's family. I drove 7 hours with 2 kids in a mini-van by myself up to Fargo, ND just to spend some time with his family. They are his family, but I hope someday that they feel more like my family because of the love and time I have invested in them. This conversation in my head doesn't really have an end. It is just continuing thoughts. Well, it is out now, and I am off to bed.