Antiquarian Anabaptist

Apologetics from an Anabaptist perspective

Family gatherings

[Before I begin, I want to ask a question.  Have any of you found advertisements on this blog that you felt were inappropriate?  WordPress offers free hosting for blogs, but sometimes they will place ads on the blogs to help cover their operating costs.  I never see the ads, so I don’t know what might be appearing to others.  I could pay $33.00 a year to keep my blog completely ad free.  Alternatively, I could sign up for lots of ads and receive a cut of the advertising revenue.  I don’t want to do that.  I really don’t want to pay the $33.00 per year either, but if anyone is finding ads on this blog that are off putting, please let me know.]

i went for a walk down the road this afternoon.  I could see from quite a distance that there were a couple of calves dining on the roadside grass and all the extended family was gathered in the corner of the pasture, inside the fence, watching.  As I got closer, they all started telling the young ones to get back in where they belonged and where they would be safe from wandering humans.  Finally the two young steers walked around the corner of the fence to where the wire was lower and jumped over the top back into the pasture.  They were Charolais, a breed noted for their athletic ability.

About half a mile in the other direction from our house there is a pond that is used as a camping place for migrating Canada Geese.  There can be 500 to 1,000 of them there at any one time and the noise of their visiting gets quite loud at times.  Skeins of geese fly over top and greetings are shouted between the flyers and the campers.  At times, the whole clan will rise up off the pond and gather for a picnic in the stubble fields.  There are also Sandhill Cranes foraging in the stubble field just south of us and from time to time we will drive by a field that is turned white by huge flocks of Snow Geese.  Geese are social and gregarious birds, they love to get together and what? talk over their experiences of the summer? plan the route to their wintering grounds?  Whatever it is they are talking about, they do a lot of it and it all sounds like friendly chatter.

Chris and I are planning to attend a human family gathering on Saturday.  A bunch of family and friends will be getting together to help my cousin Lyle and his wife Fyrne celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary.  We will have to travel more than three hours to get there, but this is the area where I lived until I was nine years old, so it will feel like I am going home.  We cousins don’t get together that often, but when we do, the noise of our visiting might not sound a whole lot different than a gathering of geese.

I was thinking today that gatherings such as these will become quite rare in coming generations.  Marriages break up, a lot of people never bother getting married, children aren’t sure where they fit in and extended families do not seem to hold together anymore.  Any couple that has been married 40, 50 or 60 years has experienced a lot of bumps in the road — misunderstandings, hurt feelings, unkind words, anger.  But little by little they have learned to understand one another a little better and to forgive one another.

After many years, when the children and grandchildren gather round, we see that it was worth it all to stick it out and repair the breaches in our relationship.  Eventually we come to realize that this person who has borne with us all these years, and suffered many wounds from our selfishness and carelessness, is a pretty special person.   Those who are ready to call it quits at the first bump in the road will never know that feeling.  And their children will never know the security and stability of a home where parents know that home and family are more important than feelings that soon pass.

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