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Friday, April 11, 2014

sibling day

there's a day devoted to "siblings"? who knew? i didn't.

we are 8. i am the eldest. forced to take responsibility for 7 other children when i was just a child myself, i grew up with a false sense of authority, of leadership, and guilt.

whatever went wrong, and a lot went wrong!- it was my fault.

my closest sibling is my brother paul. we are "irish twins"- just a year apart. we made a great and powerful team when we weren't at each other's throats. in many ways we behaved like two eldest children, birth order wise, and we still do. hear and obey, the rest of you.

my sister beth is next. an island unto herself, she floated on her own plane of existence while the rest of the chaos swirled around her. she was the perfect middle child- neutral, detached, irresponsible. although she is now one of my dearest friends, we had almost nothing in common and very little communication other than sharing a bedroom for most of our growing up years.

the little boys (3 boys in 3 years- how could they do that to me!?) were constantly in trouble. fighting, screaming, breaking things, wetting their beds (HOW WAS THIS MY PROBLEM?), having bad table manners, losing things, dropping things, running away, getting injured….all of this was placed directly on my shoulders.

at the tail end of this tribe are the two "little girls". they were my babies. by the time they were born, mom was worn out. the little girls were my darlings, my very own play-dollies, so sweet and cherub-like compared to the little boys. i loved them passionately and fiercely.

and so we grew.

to all my siblings, i just want to tell you, from the vantage point of now being grown up, that i love you all. i still feel responsible for you. paul is still my friend and buddy. beth is now fully on this planet and one of my dearest friends. the little boys have grown up, mostly, and still require much prayer- especially my fair-haired boy (where are you now, little man?) the little girls have become lovely women and dear friends. 

we are many, and we are fantastic. we are strong and we are smart. despite the disadvantages of our childhood, we have so many treasured memories. the hard times made us strong.

siblings. forever.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

reunited

they were young, once...a tall broad-shouldered boy with piercing blue eyes, and a dark-haired girl with a face that radiated peace.

they were so beautiful. picture-perfect.

married in a season of bliss and joy and glory, they made promises to each other that summer day in 1948
- promises that they did their best to keep.

their first-born and i were birthed within hours of each other...my father and his dark-haired sister had little girls who were almost-twins. we grew up close. as the years passed, we drifted apart- but that childhood connection is still there.

today, just hours ago, that boy with piercing eyes stepped over the line that divided this life from eternity. his beautiful bride was waiting for him there- he called her name as he slipped into a coma. she's been gone for many years, but i have no doubt she was waiting for him, her face shining, his name ("oh Ed! it's you!") on her lips...there beside the eastern gate. they had promised each other that.

time wears us down. the years break us and tear us apart sometimes.

but i remember....i remember the two of them, children all around, their home a place of quietness and beauty. i remember the music, the laughter, the way my uncle's strong hands held the Bible that he treasured. his deep voice echoes in my mind with memories of all the sermons i heard him preach. he was always my favourite preacher.

he's there now, with the Lord he served and loved and spoke of with passion and clarity.

when his sweet wife (she was my "auntie Jean")  died, i am sure goodbye was not what they said. i am sure they whispered,  "i'll see you in the morning, darling..."

and now, they've reunited, hands outstretched, joy-filled hearts to never be parted again. and it happened just beside the eastern gate, "over there".

just as they promised.

eternity is theirs now, together.