17 October, 2008

Thank You Lord For My Family!

This week I've had an experience that has both broke my heart and made me so thankful at the same time. I sat today for several hours with the wife of a man who was having open heart surgery. Her husband had a heart attack a few days ago and as she sat alone in the ER she reached the breaking point and she needed someone to talk to. She remembered meeting me some time back and called me. She had no pastor and no family around her, so I went and sat with her and became a friend and support to her that day in the ER. Today I went and sat with her again as her husband had quadruple bypass surgery.

As we sat and talked, she relayed to me how that the doctor had told them that two of the blockages were over 90% and that her husband was lucky to be alive. Then she mentioned her kids and I was shocked to find that they had three children that all live in the area, and not one of them had been to the hospital to see their father and none of them came there today for the surgery, nor did they even call a single time to check on him. The look on my face must have asked the unspoken question, as she began to explain that they were not a close knit family. She said that they seldom see their kids or grand children, unless they happen to bump into them around town. I asked her if there had been some problem over the years. She told me that there was never really a problem, but that they had just grown apart in their teenage years. The really strange part was that she did not really seem to be bothered by this. She said to me, "Isn't that the way life is supposed to be?" She went on to talk about how they had done their job and now the kids were out on their own and her job was done. I was stunned. She obviously felt alone and had a need for someone to care, or she would not have called me; but she did not recognize that there was anything wrong within her family. How sad.

I began thinking about my family and how blessed I am. I am thankful that we are a very close family. Most of you know that my son recently left our home to attend college. He may be out of our home, but he is not out of our hearts. I cannot see my son everyday, but we chat online or text or call (usually all of the above) every single day, and I try to get over there to see him or bring him home for the weekend as often as I can. Something tells me that we will always be that close. My daughter is 15 years old, an age where everyone says kids will become rebellious and pull away from the family. But I don't see it. My daughter gets upset if she is not involved in our plans and she still regularly finds the need to come sit in my lap and be held. I thank God for the love and closeness our family has. I cannot imagine having such a fragmented family where the kids cannot, at bare minimum, come to the hospital to support their mom in such a stressful time or visit their father before such a critical surgery. I cannot imagine being so detached as a parent that you don't find it odd for the kids not to be there or call. This is the epitome of a fragmented, dysfunctional family. I feel so sorry for this family, but this scenario causes more than ever to thank the Lord for my family and the love he has given us for one another.

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