I had a great surprise this week-end. My brother, Doug, was visiting a college in Kentucky with his son (our nephew), Victor, and called me to see if they could stop by and spend the night with us yesterday evening. We were thrilled to hear from them and it was with eager anticipation that we waited for their arrival late last night. It was the first time that either Janet or I had seen Doug or Victor in at least three years… I know that is a long time, and they only live about 4 hours away, in Morris, IL, where Doug is a doctor, but it’s one of those things where life just gets in the way and time passes before you know it.
But like with good friends, time hasn’t dulled our relationship and we pick up as if we saw each other several days ago, even when years intervene. We discuss our respective families and what all the kids are doing. Doug and his wife, Jill, are more international than Janet and I are – I guess we are more home bodies, but you never know where Doug and his family will be. India, Hawaii, Mexico, Paris, London and a host of other international destinations are all places his family really loves. In fact, Doug’s oldest child, Genevieve, is currently studying in Australia and would like to head to Bali after that. She has been all over the world and certainly is a chip off the old block.
But Janet and I tend to be more comfortable here in the States. We go overseas periodically, but not like Doug. That’s just one of the differences that Doug and I have. But fundamentally, we are both driven, have aspirations for our upcoming years and enjoy the lives that we have. And it doesn’t take more than several minutes for us to fall into the shorthand of discussing our respective lives and speaking into the decisions that each of us are making regarding the future. Retirement is a subject that comes up more often than it used to but neither of us is ready to slow down too much.
Doug’s medical practice is still very active and there is no question that his patients would miss him terribly. Likewise, I still get a thrill from consulting to the companies that seek my counsel. How rewarding. And I have to say that Doug provides wise input for me – something that I probably lack from time to time.
All that aside, the clock rolls back years when we get in the car and start to run errands. We kind of like the same things and frequent some of the same places. It’s amazing how we both like hardware stores or talking about our latest vehicles. And there’s something very comfortable about all this – no strain – just falling into the rhythms of our childhood.
The verse for this evening is a very simple one – the writer of Hebrews says it best. From Heb. 13:1, “Keep on loving each other as brothers.” That’s all there is to it. Through thick and thin, Doug and I have survived the ages. In fact, we are both older than our father was when he died at the age of 55. And Ken, our youngest brother, is quickly approaching that age himself. But the three of us are all that is left at this point. And as the oldest, it is up to me to make sure that the relationships persevere.
My encouragement this evening is that families, especially brothers and sisters, are very important to God and should be to us. My prayer is that you will invest in strengthening the relationships in your own family and making sure that you do all you can do to train the next generation as to the importance of family. It’s important – very important. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…