Chapter 2 - The Drive
A Coming Home - The Drive
Chapter 2 - The Drive
Telling John about my early elementary years seemed to catch his attention, as he smiled. But when I pulled out a family photo from my wallet taken when Sarah was in her senior year, his eyes lit-up and he immediately pointed into the photo and asked who was the younger girl. I told him, that was Rebecca, my little sister; and she was in middle school back then; although admittedly, she already looked 16-17.
John exclaimed, “Wow! She’s gonna be a knockout one day!”
“Yep!” I told him, “She already is! ... But Whoa there Bucko! You don’t want any of her! She is a handful and then some.”
He just asked, “You have a picture of her now?” I told him, “No! But you‘ll meet her tomorrow anyways. ... Put those ponies back in the barn there cowboy! ... You’re not ready for that Mare. You have no idea!”
We were already nearing Raleigh, on our way to I-40, when we stopped for gas and grabbed a bite from a local drive-thru. After we got back on the road, we continued talking about my family and how I was raised.
“John, I know I‘ve told you before about my family, and how ... “perfect” they are; and they are all of that, but before you think I was lying to you, you need to understand what I mean by perfect.”
Pausing, as we got to the exchange that would get us to the I-40, my focus drifted for a moment until I made sure that we got on the right highway.
As my thoughts came back to the conversation, which was mostly about me talking, I said, “Perfect is not about actually being perfect, ... it is more about being like Christ. ... Now I know that sounds really “churchie” and all, but I’m serious. It’s more the pursuit of being perfect, the Perfect Way.... In the end John, that’s all we can do, and truly all God expects of us here on Earth.”
Thinking to myself, when I did talk about my family, I would always talk about them when they were at their best. And when were they at their best? ... I told John, “Perfect for us was when we were at our best; it’s when we are together during the holidays.” And that was always during Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter and 4th of July. But then, three years ago changed all that; it was then that we finally came to understand the truth about Family and Home.
It was quiet for the next hundred miles, as I let those thoughts simmer over us, stewing in them, like a good gravy poured over sliced turkey. I left God and our thoughts come to a place within our souls where we were thoughtful about our lives.
Somehow, my family came to the rare place many families do not; where we understood that after growing up as children under Mom and Dad, that our family today is only being held together by the thin threads of our gatherings. And mostly by this one holiday that we came to know as Thanksgiving. Not Christmas or Easter, or even the Fourth of July as a military family. Although those holidays are great for keeping us connected.
”No!” I suddenly blurted out after a hundred miles or so. I told John, “Thanksgiving is that one day, that one day when our attention comes to focus not on what someone else did for us, but what we must do for ourselves, our own humility, and for the blessing it means to others, our family and friends, our home, but more importantly, our own blessing of thanks to God, the Giver of Life, Family, Home and friends.”
As I thought of what jutted from my mouth, I remained silent as another hundred miles fled under my wheels. Stopping to get gas again and relieve ourselve, we got back on the road.
I knew in my heart, without that tragedy in the life of our family, we would have missed the deeper meaning of Family and Home. For it was the way we were during that holiday that changed everything and nothing. Our family was together, even if it was for a funeral. We learned with painful sorrow what made a Family and where and what Home was. These were the only times that we were the family God wanted us to be. And somehow we all knew it at the same time. In the past, when Mom and Dad tried so hard for us to be a family, we just didn’t know how. But we did try. It was as if we knew it was a special time, but we didn’t understand why.
And with that sudden awareness, brought to us by God’s Terrible Hand, we found the truth that was hid from our eyes about Family and now our. I wanted John to know that there was a part of our family that was always there, but always missing. God!
It was God Who had been missing, but was always present.
We learned that Thanksgiving wasn’t about a great meal celebrated together as a family, but was in fact about having a thankful heart. It was about this humble and contrite heart. Through that, God blessed us with the revelation that Family, is the Fortress of God in this world, our personal Jerusalem, and Home ... Home was its Heart.
Before John could truly understand my family today, he would need to understand what shaped our family’s beliefs. And that was really, the belief’s of our parents.
Somehow, Before we get back to the base, I need John to see that Family and Home are not physical or natural realities, but spiritual; and as such, he can enjoy them, but for a bend in his thinking.