it sounds like a charity event... it looks like someone just let the animals out of the zoo... it smelled like slightly used shoes, pizza, and fries, and there was cake involved.
it was a typical birthday event for our family.
we all went bowling last night (dad is up at jeff and dean’s house spoiling their baby). adam and i were certainly the best bowlers there (and if we weren’t it won’t matter, no one else in the family has a blog). we had so much fun together and the kids just ran around spending obscene amounts of money in the game room and guess what... WE LET THEM BECAUSE IT MEANT THAT THEY WERE OCCUPIED and we could concentrate on improving our bowling scores and i could continue to put a WHOOPIN’ on my brothers and sisters with my power bowling (i scored a 93, is that good?). we are greasy pizza and ever greasier fries with gobs of ketchup, drank lemonade, and then ate an incredible chocolate cake that catherine had made.
as i watched those bowling pins fall, i knew how they felt. just about one month ago a huge bowling ball hit us all. we we were metaphorically bowled over with the shock of my mom’s stroke and we clung to each other as we cried together and mourned a day of death. there were moments when we each fell down. and there was those moments when someone helped us stand again. this happened every day, several times a day at the bedside of my dying mother. that process of falling and getting back up, the idea of standing together as a unit strengthened by the one standing next to you.
then last night we celebrated life and a birthday. we bowled together and laughed together. we were the ones hurling those heavy balls at the pins. we were the ones in control of the pins falling (somewhat, we really weren’t that good at bowling). i sat and watched the pins fall and then get put right again. the irony was overwhelming to me. there is nothing better than a family that can get bowled over, fall down, and then stand again.
if i could say that something was “the best part” of the whole time living as a fallen bowling pin, i will say that having brothers and sisters and LOVING them and having them LOVE me pretty darn unconditionally is “the best” part. i don’t know how i could have gotten through this without them. i feel connected to them, to my friends, and to our whole community in a much stronger way, i know why it is that God gave me siblings, friends, and a community. i am pretty independent but know that i cannot do it all on my own, there is a time when someone else has to help me get back up. there has to be something and Someone to come down to my level and set me standing again.
i know exactly how that scattered and laying on its side bowling pin feels. “what? how did i get here? what was that thing that hit me” ow, this hurts!” and then something comes and picks you up and sets you back up in your place. you are bruised but not broken, you are not alone. you wait for that next ball to by hurled down the alley, but you know that something will always set you up right again.
if you know my brothers and sisters, you will agree that we are all SO very different from one another. and those of you who know us just added an “AMEN” to that phrase. we have our moments/seasons of grumbling about each other (at least i do, i am sure that i give them NOTHING to grumble about). but i love and appreciate them all in so many new ways now and am so ashamed of the little petty things that i used to get on my last nerve. they are given to me by God to teach me, to try me, to mold me more into His image, to help me learn how to love others as i love myself. we are not perfect, but as iron sharpens iron, we are being perfected bit by bit. rubbing off the hard edges, strengthening the weaker parts, it is difficult work and oh, how the sparks fly sometimes...
PSALM 133:1 (the message) How wonderful, how beautiful, when brothers and sisters get along!
if you want to see more photos from the event, click here see the pretty pictures ! enjoy and imagine the smell of bowling alley to really get the feeling of the whole evening...
"To the outside world we all grow old. But not to brothers and sisters. We know each other as we always were. We know each other's hearts. We share private family jokes. We remember family feuds and secrets, family griefs and joys. We live outside the touch of time."