There are so many things outside our control. It can be daunting, especially when we put our hope and happiness in them. You know, companies sometimes don't do what they promise you they are going to do. Or, sometimes rates of things go up and pinch your already too-tight budget even more. People we trust hurt our feelings. We realize that the activities we devote so much of our time to, even good activities, cause us to be pulled in directions we don't want to go. We get sick. We get tired. We get taken advantage of. We wonder how we can pull things off when so much is outside of our control.
Lately I've been realizing this a little more. It absolutely reminds me that we can only put our trust in God if we want to have true happiness and joy and security and peace. To others it might sometimes look like we are pulling away from the things that are most important. (But to who are those things important, I might ask?) Others may look at you and question your decisions and worry that an inward retreat into your home and family will eventually cause you problems. Maybe it will .. maybe it won't.
As a family we have done some of this ... pulling back ... focusing on the things we think are most important instead of settling for the things that seem important. Basically we just haven't been doing much of anything. But, you know what? I have never experienced such unity in our family as we have right now.
When I was growing up we spent a ton of time, as a family, gathered around the television. When I think back to my childhood, that is one of my fondest memories. We'd all cry when Pa cried on "Little House" (even my dad). We watched "Family Ties", "The Cosby's", even "Knots Landing". We waiting anxiously as "The Wizard of Oz" came on that ONE time each year. We never missed it. I'm not saying that t.v. is the answer to families' problems, but we were together. We laughed and cried together. We shared.
In our family we have two preschoolers, two teens and Rick and I with pretty different interests. But as of late, we have been coming together around our television pretty regularly. We actually all sit together, sometimes for hours, laughing and crying, discussing and getting excited. I look so forward to spending time with my family at night just piled on the couch watching shows.
And we're close right now .. closer than we have ever been. The older two are close, Rick and I are close to the kids and each other, and Brynne and Eli are close.
One show we have been watching over and over, thanks to DVR, is "Barbie and the Diamond Castle." It has a great soundtrack that Brynne got for Christmas this year. In the car last night, on the way to church, Eli and Brynne were singing to it (one of the songs is called "Connected") .. and I mean singing loud, most of the words, horribly off tune and with extreme passion! Kyndal and I just laughed and laughed. But my heart was so warmed I was teary. Then when we were getting ready to pick them up from their Rainbows class, that they now go to together, we watched through the one-way observation window. It was time for snack and the kids all stood up and started running to the kitchen area. Brynne stood, turned around and said, "Come on Eli." He smiled at her, ran up to her, and they linked their arms around each other and walked side by side to get their snack .. connected the whole way. At one point Eli was patting her on the back. Talk about teary.
And it hit me. This family is the most important thing in the world to me. Whether or not Rick gets the bonus we feel he deserves, whether or not health insurance plans and rates are all jacked around, whether or not we are in every church service available, or require the kids to be there every service, whether or not a friend makes us feel unaccepted, whether or not we miss school or activities because we don't feel good or just because we are tired ... none of that matters if we are relying on God to fulfill us and take care of us and if we are focusing on loving those and spending time with those who are closest to us.
The connections of this family are what matters to me. I've never been happier than I am right now. Each family has to do it their own way. This is our way. It's working for us. My prayer is that every family will seek what is most important for them, without worrying about the expectations of and dependency on others, and have confidence in doing it. And that peace and joy flood all of our homes.