Sunday, November 23, 2014
Home At 3 A.M.
Hello from Kansas where I am visiting my brothers and their families for Thanksgiving. The following is from December 30, 2010.
I'm back in Houston where it's warm. When I got up this morning in Kansas, my car was covered with ice from freezing rain. Once the windows were de-iced, it was an uneventful trip, always a blessing. This was an unusual Christmas for me. Since our parents died, I drive to Wichita for holidays and split time with Dave and Scott. My brothers teach/coach in the same school and with their families, worship in the same congregation where Scott is a deacon and Dave is an elder. While I was in Wichita this trip for twelve days, I only saw Scott and his wonderful wife, Karen, for five hours. During the rest of my visit, they were in Iowa with Karen's family and as we speak are in Texas with their daughter-in-law, Lauren, and grandson, Noah. (Their son, Seth, is mid-transfer from one US Army base to another.) So, I really spent Christmas with Dave and the lovely Sally with a three day excursion to western Kansas to be with Sally's family. Yesterday, all of her brothers and sisters and their kids/spouses/grandkids came to Wichita for New Years meaning last night there were approximately twenty-five relatives scattered over Dave and Sally's house. Since I was leaving very early this morning, I decided to stay at Scott's house and free up some space.
Dave and Scott live about two miles apart. Scott and Karen's two other children, Karis and Nathan, did not accompany their folks to Texas. I was only there with them about an hour, long enough to watch two Season One episodes of Bones, before I excused myself to go to bed. When I said early, I meant I would leave around three AM so I turned it at 9:30 PM, after hugging my niece and nephew good-bye. It did not take long for me to be sound asleep with a cup of cold Starbucks waiting by the bed for me. Some addictions probably aren't life threatening... we hope.
About two hundred miles from Houston on I-45, I heard a John Denver song on the radio that I used to despise, Back Home Again, which you can watch from youtube at the top of this entry. Something about hearing it today hit me just right. It's about a husband and wife separated for a short time by his work and how they missed each other. This morning, at three hours past midnight as I got ready to leave, Nathan came out and told me good-bye again and we promised we would pray for each other. ( I can't say Nathan got up to wish me well because like many college kids home for break, he hadn't gone to bed yet.) When I went in the kitchen to grab something for breakfast, Karis had left me a note.... and a pot of coffee she had made just for me with a reminder of where the pumpkin flavored creamer was in the refrigerator. And when I stepped into the bathroom to take a shower, I found another long note Karis had taped to the mirror for me. I left their home in the middle of a miserable night but I left with a glow. What my niece and nephew did is what we don't typically do for strangers but for those we love. And as I drove out to Kansas Highway 96 through the borderline sleet, I remembered the day Nathan was born and how I held him, afraid I would mess up. And I remembered how I babysat sat for Karis the whole four years when Scott and Karen lived in Tennessee and how I was there for her first day of kindergarten. Now, they are all grown and part of me was nostalgic for the time when they were little and I helped take care of them. Today, the shoe was on the other foot. In Psalm 68, verse 6, David proclaims that 'God sets the lonely in families.' There's no better place for any of us to be, especially at 3 o'clock in the morning.
Applicable quote of the day:
"Our most basic instinct is not for survival but for family. Most of us would give our own life for the survival of a family member, yet we lead our daily life too often as if we take our family for granted."
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Posted by Steve Hawley at 11:50 PM