30 September 2008
At the station
Took the kids to see an old steam train that was in town on display for a few days (h/t to Angie). It was just me and the kids. It would've been much better if my father was alive to be with us. He was a railroad engineer for 40+ years and his absence tugged at my heart while the kids ran around and in and out of the train. They never got the opportunity to meet their grandfather, nor he them.
I explained all I knew about the train, but was disappointed in myself that I hadn't paid more attention when my dad explained every gear and gizmo to me because I had the strange notion that he would always be there to give me a refresher course. I do think I impressed a few of the old-timers who were listening to me tell my kids all I knew about the train. Still, there was so much I had forgotten.
That's part of the blessing of having a large family, of growing up learning that pain and suffering are as much a part of life as the small moments that make you smile. I was blessed to have had a very close relationship with my father, appreciated him while he was here and it was a blessing he knew how much I loved him.
Having a large family provides great examples of kindness and charity, selflessness and giving. At times, you also learn some diplomacy and conflict resolution. You learn to share and take turns, to look out for each other. Large families are not easy, but I think they demonstrate nearly all we are supposed to learn and become in this world while preparing us, in a small way, for the next.
I think this, in part, is why I have such a hard time articulating things to my MIL. Her family is not close, they all have insulated themselves from each other. I guess it shouldn't be any wonder to me when she says, does and believes what she does. If she never had opportunities to visit and care for sick relatives, bring food to a cousin who just had a baby, pray for someone's job or health, or weep at countless funerals, then protecting life from conception to natural death is not such a personal, identifiable and valuable thing.
Using a train analogy, the wheels came off a long time ago when their family was splintered by divorce and fell away from the Church. Then it was a fairly easy, though gradual, transition to supporting birth control, euthanasia and abortion. Satan knew full well what he was doing when he attacked the family.
St. Joseph and Blessed Mother, ora pro nobis. Protect our families.
Posted by swissmiss at 6:50 AM