[Post-posting note: I have no idea where the underlining came from. It's some technological prank played on me because I have no underline option in my text and this just happened when I added pictures.]
Last week, I had the privilege of being surrounded by my people.
Being at my parents' house means being continually with some other person, and usually at least a dozen others. It means lots of planning ahead to do anything. It means relaxing moments by the stove being constantly interrupted, waiting to sleep until 8 sisters are also ready to quit talking for the night, not being able to just take a shower when you wake up (you're likely to reach the bathroom just after someone else finished off the hot water).
Being in relation with people means living in love, a love that isn't one-dimensional or one-directional. Being in relation means having the opportunity both to be completely drained in doing for others and to be filled with a kind of new energy in return. It means seeing others as integral parts of our individual lives; seeing ourselves in those surrounding us, and doing unto others; seeing God in ourselves and bestowing grace in imitation of Him, and seeing Him in others when they are in need of a glass of cold water; seeing God as the author of life's story and loving His plan as it unfolds, and the other characters on these pages.
Part of my break, I was more dead than alive. I went home sick, worn out from the previous weeks. I didn't live as well in my community as I should have, and was rather like a dead battery needing to be jumped, which sucks away the life of other helping batteries.
But my family was faithful. These people, this God, gave. Life, love, beer, rest, sunshine, snow, pancakes, ice cream, good night hugs, words, gentle correction, long laughter, slobbery kisses, joy.
My days were well spent. And toward the end of the week I was more aware of the grace that has been given, that is to be lived, in every interaction:
shopping with big sister, eating lunch with sis-in-law and watching her discipline her son as I held her baby, meeting a newborn cousin, sharing a bed with a sister, explaining my classes to Dad, taking a 2-yr-old niece to the bathroom countless times, finding socks for little brothers in the laundry room, cooking new things with Becki and Laura, coffee in the morning with Mom, reading stories, wrapping presents, giving a baby a bottle, getting a backrub, singing before supper, helping host a party.
We are made to be relational. Our God is Trinitarian, and we are made in His image. This means that we are most honoring to Him, most ourselves, most alive, when we are giving and receiving in community with God and man.
"Not one human being ought, even were it possible, to be enough for himself. Each of us needs God and every human soul He has made." (George MacDonald)