Thinking Out Loud

December 29, 2019

Why Family Matters

Filed under: Christianity, family — Tags: , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 4:27 pm

Geographically speaking at least, my wife is the black sheep of the family. The distance from our home to her home, where her parents still live, more or less is 3 hours. Distances to her brothers and sisters homes by freeway are 2¼, 2½, 3½ and 3¾ hours, but none of them is more than 1½ hours from each other.

[Insert apologizes to those for whom the Holidays mean Amtrak or American Airlines.]

It means that over the years we’ve missed out on a ton of holidays, celebrations and family events. True, there’s Facebook now, and everyone stays a little bit more connected, but in general, there are huge gaps in our knowledge of more recent family history.

I have no brothers and sisters and no living parents.

I realize that in the seasons just passed (Thanksgiving and Christmas) many of you reading this have had to deal with

  • mothers in-law
  • fathers in-law
  • brothers in-law
  • sisters in-law
  • nieces, nephews, in-law spouses, etc.

I know it’s stressful. The whole his family versus my family; or her family versus my family thing.

But so also is not having events you can attend. I would describe my overall situation more in terms of

  • the absence of mother in-law
  • the absence of father in-law
  • the absence of brothers in-law
  • the absence of sisters in-law
  • the absence of nieces, nephews, in-law spouses, etc.

And as mentioned, I have no other family, so this is my family…

Many of these events occur on Sundays. The reasons why Saturdays are rarely chosen has never been made clear to me, or to us. For most of the 32 years of our married life, either my wife or myself has been a worship leader in local churches. Taking Sundays off is usually difficult.

But this time, Mrs. W. put her foot down. She informed the powers that be — it’s a paid job — that she would need today, December 29th off to attend a family event.

We looked forward to it.

Our two adult boys were home and they were looking forward to it as well. It would be the first time in many years they had seen grandparents, aunts, uncles and many cousins.

And then the weather happened.

Forgive me for saying this in these words, but unlike our American brothers and sisters, here in the North, common sense takes priority over Christmas traditions. The weather which I had understood was going to be unseasonably mild, took a turn and freezing rain warnings were issued and then wind warnings prevailed. That weather system is kicking in as I write this.

So more than 24 hours ago, the event was wisely postponed.

They will no doubt get together soon as an extended family. It’s unlikely we will be there. It’s certain our sons will not be able to attend…

Usually my blog posts have some redemptive ending, some positive prescriptive advice from which we can learn from the story. In this case, I have none. It’s just a bit unfortunate. I know my wife is greatly disappointed.

Since arrangements had already been made, my wife did take a well-deserved week off church and we were able to enjoy a service at our old church, as well as lunch with another couple who have become good friends, and the boys.

But it’s not the same. Family matters. And there’s no second chance at this one.



June 1, 2015

Stuff Happens: Our Robbery

Filed under: writing — Tags: , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 6:43 am

” I thank Thee first because I was never robbed before; second, because although they took my purse they did not take my life; third, because although they took my all, it was not much; and fourth because it was I who was robbed, and not I who robbed.” ~ Matthew Henry

As a family, looking back on what happened to us late Friday afternoon, it’s clear that our lives — as well as the owners and passengers of two other vehicles broken into — simply intersected with the lives of two people who were up to no good.

Stuff can be replaced, but my wife lost stuff that had sentimental value. And the replacement costs (direct and indirect) from this will approach $1,000.00

It makes me have a better understanding of people who were simply going out for a night at the cinema, or were standing on the sidelines watching a marathon race. People whose lives took a turn because they were just there at the wrong time. Not wrong place, wrong time, simply wrong time.

In some respects, we could say we didn’t deserve this. Life has been crappy enough lately. On the other hand, there were some factors in this that protected us from far worse impact and damages.

And miracles do happen. Pray that somehow my wife’s purse is recovered with some of the contents intact.

The quote from Matthew Henry also helps put things into perspective as well, doesn’t it?


Blog at