This is a day I’ve cried some tears. Emotions have been hard to sort through as the past weekend processed through my mind. It started Friday night (at least for me) when my husband encouraged me to look at the moon with him in the backyard. Not that strange of a request really. He told me our son had sent a text about it. And I knew our son was out doing what he does (saving lives) that night. Someone had been texting. A lot. So I oohed and aahed at the moon.
We’d left the door open and I thought I heard a noise in the house. When I looked in and saw our small grandchildren in the kitchen unexpectedly, I happily said, “Oh look some little people are in our house.” As I opened the door and stepped inside, my mind could not comprehend what my eyes told me I was seeing. Even now, I can feel that place in my heart that was trying to grasp the reality that both of my brothers were standing in MY kitchen. The first words I heard were “Happy Birthday”, but my jaw was so far open that a response took a while to come out of my mouth.
How do you comprehend the love that brought one of them to arise waaay too early in his Virginia home, fly through Atlanta and come to Phoenix in still miserably hot September? Or the other one who left his pastorate on a weekend to come from his Kansas home – both of them just to celebrate me as their sister?
Extravagant love that sacrifices is like God’s love. It’s overwhelming.
I’ve been blessed by a lot of love in my life. This was over the moon. The planning and plotting and possibly some perjury that went on was enormous. So I confess. I’ve said it’s hard to surprise me. I think my daughter took it as a challenge. The previous weekend she got me pretty good with a surprise party with family and friends. And my husband surprised me with the announcement that he was taking me to the beach on my actual Big day. Yep, they’d got me! It was amazing to be surprised. I felt so loved. But they weren’t done.
Being the “surpriser” had been pretty fun two years ago for my younger brother’s Big day. And I hadn’t seen my brothers since. I got to see my sister this summer, but not those two. After our parents were both gone, it had to be more intentional for us. My older siblings are 8 years older than I, my younger brother is 8 years younger. It’s quite an age span and I wasn’t emotionally close to them growing up. As adults, we don’t live geographically close and our communication is random. Hence this perception was not on my radar as a possible thought. I’ve never spent time with just the two of them. But those two are crazy fun, and together, well you’re not quite sure when they’re serious or joking.
My granddaughter sobbed when they left. I shed my own tears after seeing them off on different flights. So much laughter. Great new memories. Meeting new members of my family. Having a few moments with nearby cousins. Bonding with my grandchildren. Getting a gorgeous bouquet of my favorite flowers from my sister. This tells me how much they value me. It wrecked my heart to be honored in this way.
I didn’t get to spreadsheet-plan and organize the time together. I had no meals prepared. I had a wedding to go to in the midst of it all. My hospitality instinct preparedness wasn’t activated. I did happen to clean my house that day. Amazingly, the moments worked out and the focus wasn’t on the plan but the people. Somehow this too was a gentle reminder that I can enjoy not having a plan and things work out. The detour on our way to the airport today took us past In and Out Burger unexpectedly and gave my younger brother a treat not found in Kansas.
Detours, unexpecteds and being able to roll with it. Sacrificial love is best enjoyed when we let go. Embrace it. Freedom to be loved is God’s design.
The interruptions of life can make us feel off balance or out of control. I consider myself appropriately organized. That’s not similar to controlling! However, floating in the middle of the unknown is quite pleasant when it’s a sea of love you’re floating in. My brothers are amazing men. One lost his first wife to the devastation of cancer when she was only 37. The other one has helped hundreds of families cope with grief and loss as a hospice chaplain and pastor. They’ve both traveled overseas a lot. They both love to cook stuff I’ve never heard of. They live life with passion and unlimited wit. Time spent together is an incredible gift. I am so grateful and honored for this weekend of celebration.
Surprising someone you love in a way you know they’ll love is an amazing way to celebrate them. Small surprises or big ones. Making time for moments together. This is love at its best. I will be careful of one thing. I’m not going to be so quick to go look at the moon with my husband – well, unless it’s at the beach!