Friday, November 6, 2015

A Gift Under the Family Tree

In three hours I will be leaving for the weekend. I don't have a thing packed, nor have I even located my suitcase. It's not that I am not excited about going. But I am a wife and mother. Those of you who are wives and mothers need no further explanation, but for those of you who are not...

I have spent the last forty-eight hours shopping, cooking and cleaning so my home and those in it do not spontaneously combust; or slowly, painfully fall into ruin; or starve; or find themselves forced to roam buck naked through the township, or whatever it is wives and mothers seem to think will happen when they leave their homes for more than thirty-five minutes at a time. I do not think it is humanly possible to fit another thing in the freezer. (I have been remiss, however, in fully stocking the pantry, and I must run out for crackers some time before I leave.) There are approximately six items left in the hamper: the one lone sock that always seems to be searching for the perfect match, two dish towels, a cleaning cloth, and two pairs of underwear. (Do you think I should wash them up before I go?) The fridge, which now resembles some sort of timeline in Rubbermaid history and is probably threatening the weight restrictions on the joists below, is running at full tilt -- More power, Scotty! I'm givin' her all she's got, Cap'n!

Why? Why do we do this? Expectant mother's "nest." Mother's anticipating the visit of a child home from college cook as though their lives depended on it. Wives love to see their husbands sitting back, enjoying the fruits of their labors, or still strive to "impress him" with a clean house or home-cooked meal. Mom's still work to provide for their families even when they can't be present. I realize I may sound a bit archaic; I realize the feminist movement has changed the way we define roles; and I do not pretend to like cooking and cleaning all the time. But I think many of our behaviors are simply innate; designed by God, if you will, to keep our family units and our society functioning optimally.

The family is important to God. He invented it. And even allowed for life's twists. We've been studying the Book of Ruth in Sunday school. Naomi was a widow with two married sons. When her sons died, leaving their wives widows as well, Naomi urged her daughters-in-law to go back to their families in other countries. One daughter-in-law did; the other, Ruth, stayed with her mother-in-law. They became family, despite the bond that held them legally being broken by death. Turns out, Ruth remarried, but she and her new husband continued to love on and provide for Naomi.

I know exactly how Ruth felt. There are bonds that just cannot be broken. There are things we do that, no matter what society dictates, or those around us consider old-fashioned or passé, we do them out of love. We do them because of some sense of relationship. We do them because we love others, and they are family. And we give to them the best way we know how -- with our whole hearts.

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