Earlier this week, Amy and I spent a very memorable day back in South Carolina.  Over the course of those 24 hours, we experienced joy and celebration; uncertainty and apprehension; followed by relief and profound gratitude.  It was the kind of time that will make you appreciate family. 

I can’t imagine going through life without family – without my family.

First,  Amy and I met with my brother’s oldest son, who is getting married the day after Christmas. What fun! We’re already looking forward to a Christmas Day rehearsal… then dinner… then family time to open presents.  It all seems to me like the right order of priority for Christmas Day!

It’s past time for this wedding. Adams and Lauren decided around Thanksgiving to head to the altar, and they asked Amy and me to tie the knot for them. Thanksgiving to Christmas, yeah, just about enough time to plan a wedding, don’t you think!? Did I say, “what fun?”

Amy and I helped change Adams’ diapers.  We watched him learn to walk.  Laughed at his love of “Jumbells” (Bojangles!).  Taught him how to waterski. We watched him play high school sports.  We met his first girlfriend, a sweet country girl from the suburb of Ora, SC. 

And we’ve wondered ever since laying eyes on Lauren what he was waiting on!

Today, Adam and Lauren both teach special needs kids in public school. Lauren wants to adopt, and if she gets her way they may also have to order one of those 15-passenger vans to haul all their kids around in. There may be some lucky special needs kids with a bright future in store for them!

As we sat discussing wedding plans, we reviewed all of their family history and started dreaming up lines for a wedding homily. Lauren said, “We just want to be good people,” and I wrote it down. That line will be in the homily.

It’s going to be a great Christmas.

Then, the very next morning, we woke up at 4:00am to take my father to the hospital.

He was scheduled for an endarterectomy of the left carotid artery. Thanks to an internationally renown facility and vascular staff in Greenwood, SC, in about six hours, he was in a recovery room with a free-flowing artery, and looking forward to a much longer horizon in his future.

The surgery was serious, though the professionals made it all feel so routine there was never a life-or-death chill in the air. While the medical staff was engaged in the making of another miracle… a dozen family and church family members were enjoying a little pre-Christmas holly jolly in the Surgery Waiting Room. 

How do you have surgery without in-laws and nieces and children and your pastor, praying, laughing, waiting down the hall?  I hope I won’t ever have to find out.

My dad was never in danger, but the event led him to wax a bit sentimental as he cleared his head of the anesthetic.  He looked around the room and said, “Do you know how blessed I am?”  Which made me think, “Change the subject, dad… do you know how emotional I am?”

When Amy and I left Greenwood, we were swimming in the warmth of 24 hours together with family.  And we were gratefully looking forward to hearing my dad sing “The Lord’s Prayer” at an all-family wedding on the day after Christmas.

There probably won’t be a dry eye in the house.

And I can hardly wait.


Photo Credit:  brillianthues