In February, when we moved two doors down from Cana and Ennie we knew our lives would be intertwined with theirs like never before. Then Chris and Xhiv moved back home too. All of us are living through an inconvenient and messy remodel, knowing that life will be more settled in a few more months.
Cana never knows how many people will be at her house for dinner and this doesn’t seem to faze her. If it’s a baseball night and/or band rehearsal or play practice, maybe seven will gather ’round the table. If everyone in her household of nine is home and Maddie and Dom decide to drop in and someone has brought a friend, there could be 16. Since our kitchen isn’t yet functional we (usually Chris and I) prepare a meal two nights a week in Cana’s kitchen. I’ve learned the best course of action is to plan for the larger amount and try to make something so appealing that any leftovers will be appreciated.
We’re learning to add to group texts everyone who might be involved in an activity or event and we discovered it is always appropriate to check-in to see if we can be of help. We’re learning to ask what’s needed when we run to the grocery store and to have clarifying conversations like “Hey, I need you to pay me back for that,” or “Did you really mean what it sounded to me like you meant?”
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if one has a grievance against another; as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do. And over all these put on love, that is, the bond of perfection.Colossians 3: 12-14
I was moved to tears not long ago by a conversation between two of my adult children in which they asked one another for forgiveness. Phrases like “That hurt me.” “I’m sorry.” “Will you forgive me?” And “I forgive you.” were important to us from the early years of our marriage. They’re words we wanted our children to be comfortable saying so they’d be able to resolve conflict instead of holding grudges or leaving others to guess what might be the problem. Of course we never lived our ideals perfectly, but witnessing their reconciliation convinced me that something we held sacred was successfully passed on to the next generation.
When we come from the perspective that each and every family member loves us and desires our good, when we’re “rooted and grounded in love” (Eph 3:17), it takes away most of the fear of speaking honestly because we know we’ll be heard and seen and loved no matter what.
It rains in Houston . . . A LOT! It rains big puddles of water into the cul-de-sac so that no matter where I park, my feet might get wet when I exit the vehicle. I’m not too good at puddle jumping, but usually there is someone (Doug or Chris) who will steady me while I hop over the puddle to a drier spot. This problem is non-existent when our driveway is available to park in, but right now there’s a dumpster parked in our driveway and usually the vehicle of tradesman is parked in the remaining space.
Our youngest granddaughter, Evan Marie brings out something gentle and good in each member of the family. Daily each of her siblings, aunt, uncle, parents and grandparents find moments to talk to her, and we’re often rewarded with drooly smiles. It’s nearly impossible not to smile back when she smiles at us!
We all need each other and learn from each other. I’m lousy at parking in the cul-de-sac , but Chris patiently lets me try and I sure appreciate his expertise in getting the truck or car snug up against the curb when I finally give up.
All such little gestures of kindness are multiplied in our lives now diminishing inconveniences. Somehow it all adds up to one beautiful and inevitably messy life.
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Sounds like you are getting settled and living the great life.. you are both missed in phoenix but are where you need to be
Miss Evan Marie has her grandmother’s divine spark! Missing you, Lani.