FAMILY REUNION

I drove back to Nebraska for a family reunion this weekend. It was a huge affair. My Grandfather on my Mother’s side of the family was one of six boys. Although all of the boys have passed away, their children have propagated. It was reported that 174 of us had decided to attend.

The get together was held at my Grandpa’s farm. His father had built the farm over 100 years ago. I was amazed when I looked at the barn. The barn had held twelve-sixteen dairy cows. When my uncle told me just how my grandfather had treated those heifers, I knew that they had felt loved. The barn had aged more than a century but it was still standing, without any signs of stress. I marveled that my great grandfather could build such a wonder.

My heart started yearning for a lifetime I had never known. The one which my grandfather had lived. A lifetime of hard work and hard play. With five brothers, there was always some fun going on. As my uncle told me how they would call the dairy cows in to milk, keeping them inside the barn when it was cold outside, the yearning grew. They milked the cows twice a day, first milking by hand and then by an electronic device. He said it could be ten degrees outside but when the cows were all in the barn, with the doors closed, it would approach 60 degrees inside.

I don’t remember seeing the cows in the barn. Soon after I was born my uncle and aunt started living in the house. I remember one time when I came over to visit, my grandpa had just come in from milking and he smelled horrible. He said it was because he had just milked the cows. Maybe that is why I never thought the dairy cows were worth investigating.

One of my favorite memories was when my aunt would call and say that they had gotten the baby chicks in. My mother would load me and my brother up in the car and we would drive out to see the sea of yellow fuzz. A few months later my mother would be butchering some of those chickens and I would try to hide during that time. I couldn’t bear to see their heads being cut off but I sure did enjoy the fried chicken my mother would cook up.

The location of my Grandpa’s farm was heavenly. It was situated on the banks of the Beaver Creek. I went walking a bit with my niece and we marveled at the wondrous beauty of the creek. Then when we came back one of my relatives took us on a short drive in his 1947 Fairlane Galaxy and we got to see his residence and his son’s house. Being that close to the Beaver creek was like stepping out of reality and falling right into paradise. It is the most beautiful place in the world. Driving in a classic car through paradise is an over the top amazing experience!

As I reflect on this weekend, I realize I had not appreciated my childhood in the years I was living it. The bullying I endured during junior high and high school and my mother’s ill temper stole a great amount of joy that was for the taking. As I look back through the window of my memories I try to enlighten my gaze with forgiveness. With each memory my heart grows more homesick, it is the first time I have missed my place of origin and my heart is tortured with the memories of what were and more than that, with the memories of what could have been….

THE END OF A RAINBOW

Today as I was driving through Oklahoma the most unusual event occurred. I had to drive through blinding rain and feared that my rental car would get pummeled with hail. I kept praying for my car and then expanded my prayers to those farmsteads along the highway. There was some pea size hail but nothing which would damage the car. I didn’t see any damage along the way happening to the farmers either.

In addition to my fear regarding the hail I was also concerned that my car would stay on the highway. The rain let up for just a minute when I saw a rainbow in the Eastern sky. I saw the full arc of the rainbow and started praising God for the beauty of it. Then something very unusual happened. It is like God picked up that rainbow and moved it right in the field next to me. I actually saw the start of a rainbow! I have never ever seen the start of a rainbow where it was almost so close I could touch it.

I pulled off the road trying to take a picture with my stupid cell phone which didn’t cooperate at all. I was still getting rained on so I finally gave up. Some things are just meant to be memories and nothing else I guess.

I thought at first it was crazy that this would happen in Oklahoma of all places. I never gave Oklahoma credit for giving birth to anything good. Then I realized that someone in my blogging audience may have been treated like they were not any good. They may be going through a blinding storm in their life and not know if they can stay on the right road or not.

All I can say to that person is “hold on tight honey because the start of the rainbow is about ready to be dropped down right next to you.” I can tell you one thing; it is the most amazing end to a storm. Not only will you enjoy the rainbow but you will also realize how strong you have become due to the storm you survived.

I must confess I have felt as if I haven’t been near devoted enough to God lately. I do pray but I have not studied His Word like I should, nor attended church on a regular basis. Then He does something plum amazing like this that totally blows my mind and I realize it isn’t at all about what I have done but about who He is. He just defies all sense of normality with His amazing self and this is only one of the many events He has placed in my life which drops my jaw to the floor in awe. I could go on and on about Him but I know what you all are thinking… where is that pot of gold?

Well, I didn’t see it anywhere. I didn’t really look to be honest but somehow I think to have a God who keeps His covenant even when we consistently and tirelessly fail to keep our end of the deal is greater than gold.

PLAYING THE MARTYR

The martyr role is such a stunning role to play is it not? I think of the people in my life who continually play the victim role. There is usually someone who has made them the victim. Most commonly it is a spouse, sometimes an ex-spouse and at other times an ex-girlfriend or boyfriend.

The martyr will go on and on about how horrible this person has treated them, regaling their friends with tales of woe. Giving the person who they are complaining about credit for all of the despair they are currently feeling.

If you listen long enough you will realize there is something in the dynamic of being a martyr which is wrong. Many of those who are martyrs long for the one who made them such. They say they miss the feeling of being with them. Either that or they don’t ever break off the relationship with the one who has hurt them. Some even continue to act as if they are married to the person when their marriage has ended several years back.

Many times they beg for the perpetrator to come back. Is it because they like complaining so much? Is it because they like being demeaned? Or is it because that is the only way they feel like they can connect with someone else because if someone pities them… then they are connecting.

My mother has played the victim role all of her life and I have detested that about her. It is interesting how so many of the men I date have that role perfected. I wonder sometimes if I am trying to fix her or are men just that mixed up?

God does not ask you to be a martyr for others. He does not want you to go back into a relationship which does not breathe life into yours. The only reason we should be a martyr is because of our Faith. To suffer and maybe even die for Christ is not being a martyr; it is taking the key of death from the devil to open up Paradise.