There are some awards in life which no amount of money can purchase. Family is one of the greatest of these gifts. As a child, when my parents uprooted our family of five from the only family we had known, I was dismayed when I realized there would be no more holiday gatherings or visits with our aunts, uncles, and cousins. Even though I had occasional contact with some of the extended family, as an adult my yearning to reconnect intensified.
Years later I began one of several return trips to the city and state of my birth; Norwalk, Ohio. While retracing my paths, my delight was in rekindling a personal relationship with my favorite aunt, Joan. Over these past twenty-five years, we have chatted frequently via telephone, shared cards, and letters, but the greatest joy has been when I could see her face to face. Her sweet smile and joyful heart add sunshine to even the darkest of days. God has bestowed her with remarkable health in her almost ninety years of life. Now alone in her home and community she will be relocating across the country to be near her children and their families.
I could not have this precious lady move so far away without returning to Ohio to bid her farewell. I also realized the “gift to Joan” would be enhanced with not only my visit, but that of my brother whom she hadn’t seen since he was a young child. No amount of money could purchase the blessing we received. The journey to Ohio was several days with my brother and me. We had the endowment of time and conversation which will be added to our reminiscences.
The highlight of the trip reminded Clyde and me of the riches we have with our Christian family. As we conversed with Joan and our cousins, we all shared of the joys of the Lord. We conferred about the journey our lives have taken us on, but the utmost exultation was sharing with one another how God has been with us during times of happiness and sorrow.
I was saddened my sister-in-law could not join us on this voyage, but she had a death in her family which precluded her from making the trip. Dee so sweetly said, “God ordained all of this.” She was with her family, while Clyde and I were with ours. God doesn’t promise us “tomorrow”, so we always cherish the time we have with one another.
As a very young child, I desired the bond and love of family. I didn’t have it as a child or adult. I’ve imparted to others frequently, why the “gift” of love which was one of the most imperative desires I had was never granted me. Nonetheless, when God grants “gifts” of time with my family, I seize and treasure it for as long as God allows. John 13:34 NIV, “A new command I give you: Love one another, as I have loved you, so you must love one another.”