Sunday, October 4, 2015

It's a Family Affair

75.  47. 1.

75 days ago I landed back on American soil.

47 days from now I will become Mrs. Alison Johnson.

1 day at a time is how I choose to live.

Ever since my arrival in Kansas City, my feet have not stopped running.  Working two jobs, preparing for the wedding, ministering at church, and navigating life's surprises has at times left me feeling as though I have not yet landed. Hovering seems to be a skill I have unintentionally perfected.

The sudden death of my aunt just weeks ago left us all quite baffled and sad, scrambling to bring the family together from all corners of the country for a meaningful memorial service. Only days later, my dad spent a 3 day vacation in the hospital to get his heart condition under control. (Not the kind of vacation most of us envision.)  The ongoing trials of teenage family members and friends make my heart heavy.

Daily I ache for the Pacific. I dream of familiar faces and special places.  New Zealand is never far from my consciousness and vivid images of Whangarei linger in the periphery.  Today I was saddened by the news of the passing of three young children with whom I had the privilege of working in Tonga at the Mango Tree Centre.  Updates from friends in Papua New Guinea bring to mind fond memories from the past.

All of these things affect me.  Why? Why do I care about people 10,000 miles away?  Why do I care  about people in my own household?  For that matter, why should any of us care about anyone else besides ourselves?

Because it's a family affair.

Flesh and blood do not make a family; well, not human blood anyway.  The blood of Christ Jesus however, does.  The love of Christ caused him to spill his lifeblood to pay for all that separates us from the Father, so that kinship with Him could be ours. That love unites us.  That love makes us family. That love makes us care.

This love is what brings Chad and my four beautiful future step-children together.  By the grace of God, we are learning to carry one another's burdens, to laugh together, to cry together, to pray together and to sacrifice for one another.

It's a family affair.

This weekend we formed some new family traditions, one of which was running in the Jared Coones Memorial Fun Run 5K.  "Team Chalison" made their debut and pounded the pavement in the cool morning hours to raise funds for cancer research, in honour of our dear friend Ron.  We then ventured to the Louisburg Cider Fest for a taste of their signature apple cider donuts, an annual must-do for any families in the Kansas City area.

As I find my unique place among my newly forming family, I begin to land. The skill of hovering
is no longer needed, because the love I experience guides me like headlights lining the runway, showing me that I have indeed found a safe place to land.

You see, it's a family affair.  Thank you, Lord, for my family.