Today was my last day with my church family (I leave for China in 6 days), and in honor of the “love month” that is February, the message was about love.
In listening to the message my thoughts were lead to think about family, my family. What has family meant to me in my life thus far, what does it mean to me today, and what I anticipate it being in my future.
I feel in the past I have been guilty of seeing family as “just people that exist and live where I exist and live”. For some time family to me felt very empty, lonely, and meaningless.
However, today I see it very differently. Family is more than just a bunch of people related to each other. Family is a unit of people who offer immediate care, affection, protection, and support. Family is a responsibility; for me it is responsibility as a sister, daughter, and eventually someday (hopefully) as a wife and mother…as well as a friend and even more so as an enemy; to love, support, and forgive.
…love my enemies. What a challenge this becomes when we realize our own immediate family can become like our enemies; When we realize a father can kill a family, abandon it…a mother can break, can hurt, be weak, and a sister can hurtfully judge…but who are we if we respond the same? Our responses are our actions whether they are outward and able to be seen or inner responses which we feel and don’t necessarily share; and we have control over this part of ourselves.
Often when we talk about God we talk about letting go of trying to control our lives, and allowing God to lead you. I think it is all too common in our world to misuse this idea and use it as an excuse for the lack of control in certain areas of our lives. The fact of the matter is we were made in God’s image, and we have the ability to do good, to think, make choices…but that also means we can fall, do wrong, and make mistakes. If we can make mistakes and live with ourselves, have compassion for ourselves… then we must be capable of having the same compassion for others. I think this is what it means to live as Jesus did, as God asks us to. To have compassion, to forgive, have hope and faith for the improvement of circumstance..these things, together, are love.
How blessed am I to understand how special family is today, and how it can be found in places you least expect to find it. How important it is to love, and even more important to love when initially I may not want to; love is not about me it is about representing the heart and compassion of our God and sharing it with everyone; love is inclusive and contagious.
I am going to miss my family and friends immensely, but I’m so grateful to have a place and have people I will miss, love and have here to return to.