Thursday, June 30, 2016

Heritage and Hope

Our new house in the country has precipitated an overhaul of my habits. I've always enjoyed staying in bed for as long as possible in the morning. Since we've moved I've woken up at 5:30 am almost every morning. Did everyone catch that (all 5 of my relations who read this)....5:30 AM...It's like this, the morning sun rises red and the gleam of it crimsons the walls of my bedroom. I try to will myself back to sleep, but I know, that outside there's a gauzy mist over the marsh. I know that all the birds are going crazy for sheer joy. I know that bunnies are hopping around on the lawn. I know that a fawn may creep up to nibble on my bushes and if I'm in bed...I'll miss it all!

So up I get. I spend a half hour reading the Bible in front of the windows. I marvel at the light, the leaves, the song of the morning while I pursue truth. Then I go out into it. Just for a short walk before another day needs to be opened.

Recently, while reading in the Old Testament I came upon a list of leaders. They were the division leaders of the army, there were 12 of them, one division for each month of the year.

"The third army commander, for third month, was Benaiah son of Johoiada the priest. He was chief and there were 24,000 men in his division. This was the Benaiah who was a mighty man among the Thirty and was over the Thirty. His son Ammizabad was in charge of his division." (I Chron. 27:5-6)

I noticed as I read the list of commanders that I recognized names. These, like Benaiah, were men I've read about before, men that stood out for their bravery and courage. And now their sons were being identified by the names of their brave fathers. This short passage showed the grandfather who was a priest, the father a mighty man, and the son in charge of his division.
Uncle Jon and Aunt Sandy, who serve God and our Country faithfully with joy and wisdom
Last week was VBC at our church. Avonlea and Grant worked with me in first grade. Rowan attended the camp and Rose stayed home with Ma Glo to save herself for her ballet recital. I was standing in the foyer with Rowan after VBC one day when a woman walked up to me and said, "Your son is so sweet and polite. I had to look at his name tag to find out who he belonged to. I saw it and said, "Oh your a K---!" She said our last name, said it like it fit in a sentence with the words "sweet and polite". She recognized Rowan by his heritage, his family name. Something stirred within me as we walked away.
Uncle Mike....a man of courage and faith.
We bought Avonlea a concert harp several weeks ago. Her teacher tried to explain to me what to look for in a harp. She said, "You don't want it to be too old since the nature of harps are to self destruct. The pegs pull the strings taut one way and the wood pulls them another way. At some point it falls apart and you use the pieces to make a lamp or something."

Sometimes I think this is the nature of family as well. The world pulls hard against our children. Their own inclinations, peer pressure, and a constant stream of other people's thoughts, ideas, and morals join in. And as a mother, a father, we pull the other way. We teach them to follow Jesus, to love selflessly, to give generously. In this tension, they play their song and live their life.

The "sweet and polite" ness that Rowan possesses is a taut string that sometimes breaks under the pressure. But as parents, we don't let up, because we know for certain the world never will. So we train and we pray and we teach again, and again, and again, because we can see the grandfather a priest, the father a mighty man, and the son in charge of his division. We know these things are passed down and passed along and built up through the ages.

"... it was homemaking that mattered. Every home was a brick in the great wall of decent living that men erected over and over again as a bulwark against the perpetual flooding in of evil. But women made the bricks, and the durableness of each civilization depended upon their quality, and it was no good weakening oneself for the brick-making by thinking too much about the flood." (Elizabeth Goudge)

So I wake up early to rosy red light and I spend my time in the Word, because the older my children get, the clearer I see the battle that rages for their souls. I see the tension of the times in which they live pulling against the timeless truth that we have taught and I listen in awe to the music that the tension is creating. I try to express to them the heritage they have been given. Your grandfather is a man of courage, your father is a man of integrity....

...and you my have a song that this world desperately needs to hear.

When I start to despair, when the actions of my children overwhelm me, I remember who else is pulling on our side.
The One whose hands caress the stings and ease the tension into beauty.
He is the reason the red sun rises and the reason the harp doesn't self destruct.

"He is before all things, and in him all things hold together" (Col 1:17)


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