Monday, November 19, 2012

A Moving Day, in more ways than one.

Am I allowed to brag on my extended family for a moment? Since this is my blog, I suppose that I can brag on whomever I please, so permit me to say a few words about what happened this past Saturday.

My niece, Christina Garland, and her husband Paul, moved from their recently sold townhouse in the west end, to their Granny Till’s old house in Elmont where my Dad now lives. It’s a complicated story, but suffice it to say that at some point soon they will be building a house on the property, but in the meantime Dad will no longer be living alone.

So, what’s the big deal? Well, the big deal was the list of family members who showed up to help. On the last Saturday before Thanksgiving, I counted 16 pairs of hands on deck. Obviously, Bill and Linda led the charge. It seems like the two of them spend half of their lives doing things for other people, but you would expect parents to help their own children with a move. Christina’s sister Jenny was in charge of keeping the little ones all day. Jenny’s husband, Matt, was there, of course, and Paul’s Dad Roger along with Paul’s best friend, Jason. Then, my sister Paula, her husband Ron, and their son Ryan, home from college for the weekend were there as well. Hat’s off to any kid home from college who spends time helping his cousin move. Although I spent the first part of the day on an extremely rare Saturday appointment with a client who spent an hour referring to himself in the third person, I finally made it over there by 11. Meanwhile, my wife was busy preparing a feast to feed this crew. In this endeavor she was aided by her mother and father, her sister, and her sister’s middle school son. That’s right. My in-laws, and my sister-in-law chipped in half of their day to feed 16 people they are only related to distantly by marriage.

I have come to expect this sort of thing in my family. My understanding of family is that this is what families do. But the older I get the more I realize that this is not at all a routine occurrence any more. For a lot of families, you couldn’t get 16 people together on a Saturday if you were handing out fifty dollar bills and free beer. I’m grateful to be a part of one that demonstrates love for each other in this way. If you are part of such a family, you should be grateful too.

One of the 16 was not related to any of us. She was there strictly as a volunteer. Sometime around 2 or so, in the midst of all the lifting and organizing of boxes, I noticed that there was someone sitting close to my Dad in the living room. She had turned a rocking chair around to face him, right beside his recliner. At first I thought that it was Linda taking a break, checking up on Dad. But as I walked past them later, I recognized Lisa Martz. I hadn’t noticed when she arrived, but there she was with a large bible laid open on her lap reading to dad from the book of Philippians in a bright expressive voice, “ Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.” Dad was staring off into the distance, a faint smile on his face, as serene as a mountain lake at daybreak.

Later I learned from Linda, that Lisa does this a lot for Dad, comes over to the house and reads the Bible to him. Lisa had been in my Mom’s Sunday School class for years and grew to love her dearly. I suppose that this is her way of demonstrating that love. All I know is, it brought a lump to my throat and a tear to my eye.

God bless you, Lisa Martz.