Family

Family is not an important thing. It’s everything.
~ Michael J. Fox

This is how God works in my life: I was in a traffic jam on a two-lane road in Nowhere, Tennessee. Surrounded by homes and small ranches, rolling hills, barbed wire, and grazing cattle. I was inching along with dozens of other cars and I was thinking about how blessed I am to have a peaceful home – a place of safety and healing. That’s when I turned to my right and saw a sign placed at the entrance of a big house along my rural route. “WELCOME TO LOVE, TN Pop. 6.”

I gave God a little wink because the timing was just too good. Normally, I would fly by this house at sixty miles per hour and never notice a thing. I’ll be late for work for sure, but that’s okay. Sometimes we have to be forced to slow down in order to get the message.

In the past few weeks, I have interviewed several war veterans – people in their 80’s and 90’s. They know their time on earth is coming to a close. They’ve lost wives, siblings, even children. I sensed a strange mixture of sadness and contentment in each of them. And in every case, no matter what we talked about, the conversation inevitably came back to family. Every one of them counts family as either their proudest achievement or a source of some regret. Some of these guys helped save the world, but it’s clear that it’s the sixty-one years of marriage and the children they raised that matters most to them. Their message for their surviving family is universal: “I’m proud of you.”

I inched along on my slow-mo commute loving what that person did at the end of their driveway. I love that they imagined it, had it professionally made, and hung it with such precision and care. It says to the world: Love Lives Here.

My house is not perfect. My family is not perfect. I am far from perfect. But I am more focused than ever in keeping a peaceful home. The world batters us every day. Shouldn’t we have a place to heal – a safe haven of support, encouragement, and laughter? There’s enough darkness outside. We have the power to create light in our little worlds and in doing so, we change the entire world.

Will you join me?