Life’s Lessons

Family ties

By Helen Guilford - For the Expositor

If you grew up in a loving family, a caring family, a family in which every member was recognized for his own strengths and weaknesses, give thanks.

I did. Now, as I watch that family expand with the marriages of nieces and nephews, I silently look over the intended spouse as though he or she was to become my own son-in-law or daughter-in-law. In this case, he would be a nephew-in-law, and I really cared what sort of family my beloved niece was joining.

The wedding day came around but the hoped-for sunshine failed to appear. Instead, an all-day rain set in. An outdoor wedding in a beautiful park setting was the plan. Now what?

It just happened their photographer had recently met a couple who owned a lovely Victorian home in the vicinity. Could that be a possible venue? (Just to clarify, I don’t believe in the “it just happened” philosophy and neither do the bride and groom.) A phone call later the wedding was moved indoors into this lovely Victorian home. The owners simply absented themselves for the duration of the ceremony and gave the small wedding party full reign.

I thought they had their priorities right when they got a puppy even before they got their marriage license. The puppy was named for a drum, since the groom is a drummer in the praise band in church. Now, what drum was that? I couldn’t remember, as it was strange to me.

I knew it was neither snare nor bass, the drums I know best. What could I call that puppy? Rather than inquire, I simply called her Bongo, explaining it was a drum name I could remember, and I did think it better than Timpani!

The outdoor open house reception near Indianapolis had begun at 1 p.m., and we didn’t arrive until 2:15, so visiting was already well under way. We were soon greeted by family, the bride’s parents, nieces and nephews. Bongo was in the side yard but I didn’t see Michel right away. I was not surprised. I didn’t know if he knew I had arrived, but about an hour and a half later, Michel made his way to where I was seated, pulled up a chair, and settled in for a nice quiet visit with his new aunt – the proverbial old Old Maid aunt every family seems to have.

As we visited, I asked the puppy’s name, thinking I would honor them by at least remembering their pet’s name. Michel’s answer? “Bongo!” So I guess she is Bongo to me for the rest of our affiliation. That said a lot to me about this young man. He wanted to honor me by not calling attention to my memory block about the puppy’s name.

We discussed his work and the fact his new bride with an engineering degree is not currently working. She has recently moved to the area and he would rather she stay unemployed for a while than take a job where she would not be fulfilled or happy. He told of their honeymoon plans and his boss’s dismay that he will be gone a little over two weeks. All in all, he made me feel like I really mattered to him.

We find this same family tie among Christians. It’s why many of us refer to our church congregation as our church family. It’s a tie we have with fellow believers because we are drawn together through the love and sacrifice of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

It’s a tie as strong (maybe stronger?) than family blood – because it, too, is a blood tie – the blood of Christ shed for us. Are you a believer? If so, welcome to the family. If not, why not do something about that?

Family ties

By Helen Guilford

For the Expositor