My blogging is erratic this week as Ann and I are travelling and lack of time and internet interfere with our schedule. But as we visit family, I continue a journey of surprise. First, I do not understand why family relationships should be so close. After all, they are individual persons like anyone else, why should we be attracted to them more than others.
Of course, there are some, perhaps many, families that live at enmity with one another, and there are friends who become as close as family. But we all sense the priority that family has in the world’s pecking order and fighting or ignoring family members is not the way it should be.
In fact, family ties are created by God to illustrate the relation of members of the Trinity with each other, but also God’s relationship to us; He longs for us to be part of his family. Feuding families are the anomaly that illustrates our fallenness.
Second, I did not expect the enjoyment that Ann and I receive from our family. From just the two of us, our direct family and spouses now number about twenty. I say about twenty, for others are on the way! And for someone like me who doesn’t plan life far ahead, family, however natural it is, comes as a surprise.
Why do Ann and I drive 3600 kilometres across Canada, or fly regularly to England and New Zealand? Certainly not for the sake of our health, which occasionally precludes such trips. But the warmth and pleasure we receive far outweighs any inconvenience.
I suppose the greatest surprise is that family members are as pleased to see us as we are to meet with them. After all, they did not ask to be part of our family, but we are responsible for them and their progeny. But to be close to them reinforces our closeness to God who gave us life.
I do not know if those who do not have family mourn for the loss, or whether they are unaware of it. What I do know is that becoming a child of God provides a relationship and security that is ultimately beyond the joy received from earthly families.