Monday, April 11, 2011

Hey, Paul. Pick Up the Phone.

Every once in awhile, out of the blue, the most delightful things drop into your day and bless you beyond measure. That happened to us this evening. I answered the phone to hear the voices of my cousin Mary Ruth and her husband PJ, asking brightly, "How's Paul doing?"

It was not just knowing that people cared about our going through a tough time that was so nice. It was not just the warm feeling that we got when they let us know they were thinking specifically about us that brightened our day. It was the unexpectedness of the gift that PJ and Mary Ruth bestowed on us by taking a moment out of their lives to pour love into ours that touched our hearts.

Mary Ruth is the oldest cousin on my father's side of the family. She was already "all grown up", even married when we were kids. She wasn't in on all the cousin craziness that the rest of us experienced when we would gather at Grandma Hussmann's house in Centralia, Illinois. Her dad and mom were most often there, (her father and mine are brothers), but as a young wife and mother, she was rarely along on those trips.

Fortunately, my father's side of the family has been having family reunions every three years since 1977. Two summers ago we were in Indiana, the time before that, in Illinois, and next year we reunite in Tennessee. (Between the reunions you may take whatever vacation you like, but reunion year, for 3-4 days in July, you will come to the family gathering.) Because of these family get togethers I know all my first cousins very well, including Mary Ruth and PJ, and my kids know their second cousins nearly as well as their first on that side of the family.

And so tonight was a special night. We don't hear from these guys often. We laughed a lot. Both Mary Ruth and PJ are extremely funny. But we also experienced the blessing of family ties that bind. God placed me in a family whose members not only like one another, but also a family that extends open arms to anyone who joins their ranks.  Most importantly, though, this is a family that loves the Lord, and lives under His blessing and grace.

We'll remember this night. Thanks, for the call, cousins.


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