Thankful for the blood.

I’m in a flurry of cleaning, baking, and cooking, but I did want to take a moment to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving.  And this will sound…oh I don’t know, trite?  cliche?…but bear with me please.  What I want to tell you is to stop and just let your heart be filled with gratitude for the family you have, your blood relatives and your in-laws, however imperfect they may be. Yes, everyone says that, but the thing is to truly do it.  And then tell them how much you love them.

On Halloween, a young man at my daughter’s high school, a senior, died in a catastrophic car crash not far from school.  This is a small town and everybody pretty much knows everyone else, so not only the family but the whole community was pretty much devastated.

His obituary read, “[He] lived in Chelsea his entire life.”

My daughter told me that at the candlelight vigil, his sobbing older sister addressed everyone, saying:

“If you guys would do one thing for me: take stock of your life and tell everyone you love them. You never know what’s going to happen.”

Apparently she and her brother had had the typical sort of sibling relationship and didn’t exactly spend much time expressing their love for each other.  She had gone off to college in August and not seen her brother for some time.

And I know how she now feels.

On the evening of December 4, 2006 my mother called me.  I was irritated with her about something and when we hung up, I didn’t say, “I love you, mom.”

Ask me what the one thing is from life that I would change if I could.

No matter how irritated I am with my children, I try to tell them every day before they leave that I love them.

You may find yourself irritated, annoyed or offended by some family member or another tomorrow at Thanksgiving dinner.  Let go of the offense.  Tell them you love them before you leave.  The lie of modernity is that blood is no thicker than water, but that is utter horseshit.

Consumerism, politics, “careers”…it is all meaningless.  What I am truly thankful for is the family that I have by blood and by marriage and for the blood of Jesus Christ, shed for the remission of my – and your – sins.

Kith and kin and Christ – the blood you share with your people and the Blood of the Lamb – are the only things that mean anything.  Do you have these things?

If not, instead of heading out to that door-buster sale for another piece of crap, I entreat you to call upon the name of the Lord and be saved.  And then call your mom or your dad  or your kid from whom you’ve been estranged, or whatever relative you have, and tell them you love them.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

The primal desire to stick with one’s own.

From NPR’s story Being With People Like You Offers Comfort Against Death’s Chill about an immigrant from India who developed a retirement community in Florida for other Indians (highlighting mine):

“It’s a gated community where you will be living with people of your own cultural background,” Iggy says in one of the YouTube advertisements for the complex.

So I went down to Florida to find out if the people had bought out of some primal desire to stick with their own. And if so, was that OK? What if you flipped this and this is like one of those country clubs that only let in white men?

That comparison is unfair, Ignatius says. “We would let anybody in.”

But no one at ShantiNiketan was shy about admitting that part of what everyone was paying for was being around people like them.

NPR puts a whole lot of spin on this story and dances around the fundamental conclusion, but it’s an interesting article anyway and worth reading.

Christian women should be helpers, not careerists.

Deep Strength has posted a link to a thought-provoking essay by NYCPastor entitled 10 Women Christian men should not marry. I was particularly interested in one of the categories of women the pastor said Christian men should not marry:

9. The Career Woman. Now, I want to clarify something here.  There is nothing wrong with a woman who works (Acts 16:14), what’s wrong is a woman who puts her career ahead of her family.  Modern American society might hate to hear this, but God made men to be the providers and women to be the nurturers of the home (in most instances).  It’s okay for a woman to be a doctor, attorney, or any other professional.  However, if her career is coming at the expense of her home, then something is wrong.  If day-care is raising her young children while she’s working, then something is wrong.  I understand that there might be a season of life where the wife might have to be the main bread-winner due to her husband’s unemployment, but it should not be the desired norm. The woman ought to be willing (and even desirous–to some extent) to give up her job for the sake of raising her kids in the Lord.  “So I counsel younger widows to marry, to have children, to manage their homes and to give the enemy no opportunity for slander” (1 Tim 5:14).

It shouldn’t shock my readers to hear me say I agree with him even though I am working full time at present. In The purpose of paid work for women, I wrote:

Feminists with their bloated egos tell women that their paid work is their path to personal fulfillment. This is a lie. Personal fulfillment is found in God and family – nothing more and nothing less. Chasing the elusive and incredibly selfish dream of “personal fulfillment” will leave you empty for the simple reason that – unlike God and your family – your job does not love you.

My advice to young women: prioritize family formation over education and career. Prepare yourself to earn money as a means of serving your family but don’t get wrapped up in worrying about your personal fulfillment at work because that isn’t why you are there.

 

Christian women should strive to be helpers, not careerists.

Now, on to a pleasant bit of related personal business…

As you know, I accepted my current full-time position for a specific reason: my husband and I want to purchase another ten acres of land that is up for sale across from us. In speaking to a real estate agent who knows this area well, he said undeveloped land around here is going for about $10,000/acre if the perc test looks good. The ten acres across the dirt road was listed at $70,000, then started dropping quickly because the owner is in a hurry to sell. It seems like he may have inherited the land and wants the cash. The price has dropped now to $45,000 and we don’t think it will stay up for sale much longer at that price – that’s only $4,500/acres.

We are thinking of making an offer, contingent upon the land perc-ing satisfactorily, but our conundrum is this: we don’t like debt. I’m driving a nearly ten-year-old minivan because I can’t stand the thought of taking a car loan and I don’t want to dip into what’s left of our savings after the big move we did in September. I’d rather my dinged up van than a car payment any day and I could give a rip about what people think of my scuffed up vehicle, since it’s clean and reliable. By being frugal, Philip and I were able to put a very large down payment on our current land and home, but even so we had to mortgage part of it. We haven’t yet saved up enough cash to buy the new chunk of land outright, so we’d have to mortgage part of that purchase price…and we loathe debt! But if we don’t move soon, the land will be gone, and it’s a gem. There are no other unsold, undeveloped chunks of land around us; we are surrounded by homes on 5-10 acre plots (except for the homes lining West Lake), some preservation lands, the Waterloo Rec area, and big 100+ acre farms.

So we’re really mulling this over – buy now by taking on debt or hold out while we squirrel away all my paychecks and pray no one else grabs it? But tomorrow Philip is calling our mortgage officer just to inquire…prayers for wisdom in this matter would be appreciated, as we view this land as part of our long-term vision for our family, if the Lord is willing, with hopes of establishing a base for a multi-generational kin network.  Recall that my husband’s brother and his wife live a fifteen-minute drive from us, his auntie is just around the corner from us, and his mother is looking to move from Dearborn to live near us as well.  Our plan for the land is to allow our children to build houses on it if they wish in the future when they marry.  Living near extended family is something that I have increasingly come to value and the idea of my future grandchildren, should God bless me with any, being able to walk across the street to visit me is very appealing.

But mortgaging it would mean I’m tied to a full-time job for the forseable future. I don’t mind this much, as I work in a pleasant school district with friendly co-workers, but I miss my family terribly when I’m away from them all day. Still, it seems I may have to accept being apart from my family now in order to have a place for them to live near me later on.