There were 4 brown children, tanned from long summers at the beach. They were cousins, and spent their summers in their Grandfathers cottage with their Moms, Aunts, Grandparents. They lived like one big happy family. It was there that I first learned about God, felt Him, heard Him in my heart, knew that He was a living person, and first experienced Him.
I learned to fish, to swim, to run far and fast, and life was good. When I turned 16 my Grandfather sold the cottage, and our endless summers on the shore were exchanged for urban life. We grew up, dated, married, babies were born, Grandparents died, and we moved far away. But that place is still in my heart. It still exists, but it is not the same. For those brief 12 years in time, life was simple, we lived together as a family like few I know, and we learned to love one another with an unusual love. My father and I talked about it at length several days before he passed away. In fact, that was the place that he wanted to visit most before he went into the hospital for the final time. We sat on a bench, he and I, overlooking the lake, and talked about the wonderful years we had there, and how magical things were. Yes, Dad, they were magical. And they still are, because they live in my heart, they are a part of me.
Things have not stayed so simple, however. In a family relatively unmarred by worldly influence, both of my cousins’ marriages ended in failure. My cousin Bob fell victim to alcohol and drug abuse, and torched his life and marriage away. No one really knows where to find him now. I received a call from my Mother a year ago that he had been hit by a car. I tried to contact him, but his number was disconnected, and the hospital had lost track of him once he was discharged. He was such a cute kid, smart, but troubled. He was like a brother to me, Bobby, where are you?
My cousin Linda is drop dead gorgeous, and even at 47 she’s a head turner. But she never knew it, she is not that way. She’s been a model of patience through the years, and after her marriage ended she patiently waited for the Lord to bring her a husband. He eventually did, proof that He hears our prayers.
Maybe my conversation with John today started my reminiscing, not sure where I am going with this.
No matter how idyllic a start, we all face trying times, fears, failures, disappointments, and disaster of some kind. This sounds like Job / Ecclesiastes kind of stuff.
I thank God that I had a good start, that I know how things in a family should be. How good they can be, even in a family that did not have much. Maybe that’s part of why we were so happy. All we had was each other.
Now, if only I could make that magic happen here, and now, I’d have something. Yet God is still on His throne, He is still the same. He has not changed. And He is here, in spite of my two left feet. And He is the one who does miraculous things, like changing water into wine, or changing hearts. And His steadfast love endures forever.
Know that the LORD, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! For the LORD is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.