I tell my classes today that I often miss my parents and it is usually over small things. This entry, from February 6, 2011, is about one of them.
Last night I ate on Jackie's Plate. Jackie was one of my students who years ago gave me a Christmas present, some baked goods on a Christmas plate. Even though I haven't seen her for maybe five years, that large plate with the snowflake border and the big picture of Santa Claus in the middle brings back memories. My best recollection of Jackie is that in class, she sat with Emily, a girl from China, and made sure she was able to write down accurately all the notes. With Jackie's help, Emily was able to maintain a high A in the class which covered the Gospels of Jesus. Eating off of her plate just reminds me.
My folks, especially Dad, were big on family traditions. They bought one of these plates seen at the top of the entry and made it part of our family culture. When one of us had a birthday or had been gone for awhile, the Red Plate was set for us at the table and the date was noted on the back with a permanent marker. When not in use, the Red Plate hung on the kitchen wall for all to see. The tradition extended to a number of close friends who also dined with Mom and Dad and requested the plate, a request my parents were only too happy to oblige. I am sure they had to go through several of those dishes and I am not sure who inherited them when they died. To be honest, I wish I could have one more meal myself on the Red Plate. Of course, that would mean one more meal with the folks and that won't happen this side of eternity.
We had an interesting ceremony in worship this morning. The sermon was about parenting and David Yasko, our minister, delivered an excellent, thought provoking message. He invited all the parents/grandparents with kids living at home, and those same children, to come on the stage at the front of the auditorium, joining our elders. It was packed, a good sign for an aging congregation! David asked the parents to repeat a solemn vow to raise their kids as the Lord would wish. Then, the rest of us with no children at home pledged to support these parents and children in any manner possible. Both groups participated enthusiastically. At the end of the lesson, a teenage boy responded and came desiring to put the Lord Jesus on in baptism. What made it even more special is that the young man's grandfather was the one who baptized him. As the youngster emerged from the water, he turned and hugged his grandpa. I don't know what our new brother had for lunch or even where he ate but I know this: my folks would have had the Red Plate on the table. And the great thing is you don't need a Red Plate to make someone feel loved or appreciated or part of the group- you just need to show that you care. It's what families do.... and I thank God my parents knew.
Applicable quote of the day:
"Family traditions counter alienation and confusion. They help us define who we are; they provide something steady, reliable and safe in a confusing world."
E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org