Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Welcome Home: Going Home, part 2

Last night I wrote a first installment about my mom and the journey we are on with her as she has gone on hospice.  I think it will be an irregular topic, under the title of Going Home.  Part 1 is here.  I had no idea that the next chapter would come so soon.

My siblings and I grew up in the 60’s and 70’s.  There are five of us and we range in age from 51 to 59.  We know what the stereotypical family should look like because there were frequent images of it on display in the culture at the time.  We also know that the stereotypical family is rare.  In that case we are very normal, because there were many events in our growing up and subsequent lives that don’t fit into any stereotyped ideals. 

At this particular time we are a mixed bunch relationally.  Including our parents there are four living generations, with a very complex structure of who is close to who, who talks to who, who doesn't talk to who.  And it goes on.  The structure is endlessly complex, unique to our family but perhaps not very different from what is present in many families.  And complex relationships are not unique to our place in time.  The book of Genesis, read as a narrative story, is a broad survey of both healthy and dysfunctional relationships. (Disclaimer – Genesis is much more than a narrative of human relationships.  Send me a note if want someone to read it with you to see the power, majesty and purpose of God in it.)

Long story short, in the past two days I have been able to reconnect with someone who has lived a very long time outside of direct contact with almost every one of us.  And not just myself but several of us have connected with this person, and I have had the opportunity to share their story, as I know it, with several others, casting a few more strands onto the complex, perhaps web-like, structure of our family. 

I have been able to hear this person’s story and to share some of my own.  I don’t need to know all of their details.  I am just glad to have had the conversation.  And I hope there will be more conversations.  And maybe one day a face-to-face reunion.

The story of someone coming back to our family brings to mind the story in Luke 15:11-32, the Parable of the Prodigal Son, particularly the part where the son is welcomed home unconditionally and with great enthusiasm by the father. 

Dealing with my mom’s approaching death is something that we are all processing in differing ways.  I never would have anticipated that as we anticipate a loss that we would also be celebrating a return.  As Thanksgiving approaches among the things I am thankful for is the way  God is at work.  He is bringing people in our family home, in a relational sense, a movement towards home that points us to the unconditional and enthusiastic “Welcome home!” awaiting His children in heaven.

Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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