Life from the rear-view mirror

Home for dinner….Vol 28

April 8, 2013 | Comment

photoKathy and I will celebrate our 6 month anniversary at the end of the month. I’ll be honest…it feels like we’ve been together a lot longer…and that’s a good thing. The tensions and stresses don’t seem to hit us quite so hard (and we have had some…) we forgive quicker, and we’re quicker to  forget. Encouragement is a part of every conversation. There is lots of affection ..and dinner with the family has been reinstated.

My kids are older now and busy with their lives but this dinner thing has been interesting. They seem to have missed having dinner together…and they did…for nearly 5 and a half years while we were going through Lori’s illness. But Kathy has revived the tradition and it’s been welcomed…even celebrated. But as good as the food is…the interaction around the table has been the most rewarding and revealing part.

Everyone is more at comfortable around the dinner table and conversation flows more easily.

The kids bring up stories from the past and things that happened during the day. We talk about sports, music, church, health, God, job searching and more. For Kathy, it’s a chance to get to know the kids she is helping me parent. For the kids… it’s a chance to get to know Kathy and eat some amazing food. For me…its a few minutes to be together.. to peek into their lives and maybe get a bit of a bead on how they are really doing. (more on that another time) But any way you slice it…it’s pretty cool. I wasn’t sure we’d every have this kind of family time again…and I’m very thankful that we do.

Even though the tradition of dinner is reestablished, it is still rare that we have all 4 kids with us at every meal. There’s bound to be one or more kids at a friend’s house, working, playing sports or some other activity. And I miss them when they are not there. As I’ve grown older, and now lost some people who have been close to me , I’m more conscious of how short the time is with my kids to prepare them for life with its bumps and bruises.. It’s difficult not to focus on what I’ve done wrong rather than take advantage of the time I have left to do right. I realize that they will have to make decisions that will impact the outcome of their lives. I’ll feel responsible if they choose poorly and I’ll be thrilled when they choose well. But I will love them, encourage them, pray for them and support them either way…because that’s what a good parent should do…That’s what a loving parent does.

Of all the things I could do as a parent to raise them well…there is really only one thing that matters for eternity. That is their relationship with Christ. We have taken them to church and had them involved in youth groups, Bible camps and the like since they were babies. And each of them has told me they have put their trust in Christ. But I haven’t always demonstrated what a Godly father looked like at home. And that concerns me..as it should. Now, as the two older ones prepare to do life much more independently, they will have to make choices about the role Christ plays in their lives by themselves. He will always be their Savior…but he may not always be their Lord…unless they choose to make him Lord. It takes a conscious effort and daily prioritizing to keep Christ on the throne of our lives…running things. It can be hard work…it takes a lot of discipline. But it’s the only way to have true joy and happiness. If I have parenting regrets…here is a big one. We as parents can’t be Christ-like enough at home.

We’re making memories around the dinner table. I hope the kids remember them…I know I will. God uses the dinner table as a neat picture to describe heaven and our eternal home. For me, the lyrics of the song below say it well. Our precious Lord is waiting for each of us…no matter where we are right now.

There’s always a place at the table

He’d gotten used to living
On the outside looking in
Lonely was his only constant friend.
So when the invitation came
That clearly bore his name
He hardly could believe the words he read.
There is always a place at the table
There’s a feast that’s now waiting all your own
Your place is set each time the family gathers
It will never be the same til you’re home.
She’d made so many choices
That had torn her life apart
And hurt the very ones she loved the most.
She didn’t even know where someone could begin
Until she got this message from the host.
There is always a place at the table
There’s a feast that’s now waiting all your own
Your place is set each time the family gathers
It will never be the same til you’re home.
Come home, come home.
My child, come home.
There is always a place at the table
There’s a feast that’s now waiting all your own
Your place is set each time the family gathers
It will never be the same
It will never be the same
It will never be the same til you are home.

 

 

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