Monday, July 14, 2008

And the Greatest of These is Love

This is a family reunion shot.
It is remarkable for the stories in this picture. You don't know them unless you are in the middle of the picture, so let me try to recount, as an outsider, some of these stories. Over on the right, you see that dapper white hat? And underneath that, there's quite a bit of mustache, and underneath that, there's Uncle Chuck. Like the rest of the matriarchs and patriarchs here, Uncle Chuck and his wife, Aunt Ruby, are in the 80-90 year range. He'd been pretty sick awhile back. People were afraid we'd lose him. But we did not. He was pretty spry at the party. I commented to him how good it was to see him so perky. He matter-of-factly told me that he's more worried about Aunt Ruby's wellbeing. And his mustache trembled just a little when he told me how sometimes she makes a little gasp in her sleep, and that he lays there in the dark, afraid, everytime it happens. Uncle Chuck loves Aunt Ruby.
The guy in the middle, hands up, blabbing away? That's Mike. He's married to Joyce who is the daughter of Herman and Anna. Mike and Joyce are part of the crew that live nearby that make sure that Uncle Herman and Aunt Anna lack for nothing. There is a team of willing bodies ready to drop everything if something needs done for those two. And when Mike was in a bad wreck, all that love and concern was reciprocated in a very big way. Everybody loves Mike.
See the older couple standing off to the side, the woman with the baby on her lap? This is Joe and his wife, Caroline. He's a preacher. They live in Chicago. They've taken in hundreds of foster children. I really don't know if people would recognize them without a child in their arms. I love to watch them at family 'doings'. They're chatting animatedly with people that they haven't seen since the last family 'doings' and they've almost always got a small child on their lap, or on their shoulder. And these troubled little people cling for all that they are worth. Joe and Caroline talk on and on, but their bodies never stop rocking these children, their arms never stop patting these children, and their gentle voices, going on and on, never stop soothing these children. I'm sure that these fine people are aware that they are helping children, but they haven't a clue of the magnitude of their gift. But the children know. You can see it in their eyes. By the end of the reunion, they were running around with the other kidlets, just as secure in their parents' love as any of the rest of them. Joe and Caroline loves anybody that God sets in their path.
I've got more pictures of more people with more stories.
Really, this is a family that kind of overflows with joy and love. There are the exceptions to the rule, I'm sure, but it doesn't matter. For this one day, even if you don't belong, you get scooped up in a bear hug and dragged on in anyway. Once I wrote a column this event for our newspaper, focusing on Rita's birthday (see tomorrow's post) which is celebrated at the reunion. What a response! For some time people would greet me with "I wanna go to Rita's birthday!" Everyone, it seemed, wanted to have a family like this one. And you know, in a perfect world, they would.
Talking about gifts, the Lord said, "The greatest of these is love." Jesus knew what He was talking about. And I'm thinking that He would be pleased to sit down and flip through the pictures from Tim's family reunion.


Bush Babe (of Granite Glen) said...

What a lovely glimpse into this family... and, well, tributes really. How is everyone with you posting pics of them?? And most important... do we ever get a pic of you??

debby said...

People asked for copies of the pictures, and then said, 'You know, somebody should write this down,' and I said, "Well, funny thing about that," and then people began to take my URL. So. Yes. They know. For his part, Uncle Herman seemed amused that people in Australia knew who he was. Actually, his daughter is working in Sydney right now. So, yes, word got around, and I expect that some of them are reading along. (Hi everyone!)

This is a really neat family. I don't know what kind of tree I am, but I've got a nice family tree. Well, Tim does.

Hal Johnson said...

Great post, and great stories.

There's that old saying, "Youth is wasted on the young." I'm sure an example of that, because it took me a pitifully long time to realize that the stories of "everyday people" were more interesting than anything popular culture offered up.

Fastfingers said...

Oh how lovely! Really lovely! Makes me want to dash across the road and hug my dad (would he be surprised!)

Yep, there's nothing more valuable or important in life than love and family, absolutely nothing at all, not a single thing.

PaintedPromise said...

wow you are making me homesick (for lack fo a better word) - when my great-grandmother was alive we had reunions... people came from all over, we had 5 generations... after she died, i don't know, it just stopped. now my grandparents are also gone and we are down to 3 generations... and we don't even get together with immediate family any more. it's sad. but my famiy is not like Tim's... and that's even more sad :(