Saturday, November 03, 2012


Family is the primary building block of a healthy society. And I like to think I've done my bit in that regard. But what exactly do we mean by family? Well yeah, obviously most of us have some combination of spouse, kids, parents, cousins and all the rest of it, though not all.  And I find that I more easily connect with some than others. Like my kids and grandkids, they’re always easy to get on with as we spend a lot of time together. The call ‘party time’ goes out most months, and the 12 of us gather at a moment’s notice. So we make an effort to see each other and get on really well. What about my own sisters or parents? For sure we see much less of one another, as life got busy and we all moved on. But nonetheless when family tragedy struck they were incredibly supportive and sympathetic. So whilst relatively distant, still very much family, and I consider myself privileged to have had so many caring folk around me when needed.

Not so with everyone I guess as it’s not at all unusual to see relationships break down. But I do feel saddened when stubbornness over a comparatively minor issue destroys a lifelong connection. At times I’ve certainly put my foot in it with loved ones, but refuse to allow pride to cause damage. So I try and avoid being judgemental and if things were to go sour I’d willingly take the blame, and try and change my ways. I’d do just about anything to stay close to my family! Yes loyalty, more than just within the context of family, is an admirable trait we all should aspire to. But so many lack the measure of natural family that I am so very blessed with. Maybe it’s understandable when work colleagues share so much time together that they consider one another to be family. That’s got to be good, though it’s only when trouble strikes that a real test comes along. So often, business activity is prioritised, sweeping aside all pretence of care. Unfortunately I’ve seen that all too often, even in the church, which is really sad. And really bad. Plainly wrong; and treating folk as cogs in a machine is just not right, no matter the operational needs. But that is exactly why we need family, whether it be in the home, the workplace, in church or even an internet group… we need folk around us who support and care and understand and all the rest of it.

Families have fun together… yes bonfire time, that’s what today is. Though this evening we skipped on Guy Fawkes and fireworks, so just had a bonfire. Alright, bonfire toffee came along as well. Of course my eldest daughter phoned this lunchtime asking to ‘borrow’ my untended garden to do the deed. My son immediately got the lawn mower out to tidy up the rather wild lawn. First time this year at the bottom of my overlarge garden! Then said family appeared asking for tools, and did a wonderful job of clearing all manner of problem tree branches, before emptying my unused greenhouse of sundry scrap wood. So for a happy couple of hours we enjoyed bonfire night once again. That’s what family is all about! Pity Jane wasn’t here with her baked potatoes and spicy chilli though… she would have got me buying fireworks as well. I wonder what sort of parties she gets to organise in heaven?

Psalm 68:6 God places the lonely in families’ (NLT)

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