I had not planned to write tonight, but everyone has gone to sleep — except for Scott who has gone to the all night graduation party — and I’m not yet sleepy. Two days in the house with family has left enough stuff swirling around in my head to keep my from sleeping for awhile. I figured, therefore, I might as well get some of it out here and maybe I could catch a couple of hours of sleep before dawn.
The picture is of my two nephews, Ben (on the left) and Scott (who graduated today). They are great guys. For years we have sent each other CDs for any occasion that requires a gift. They have added some great stuff to my collection and I to theirs. As Ginger and I thought about what to give Scott for graduation, we knew we were going to give him cash, but a CD seemed in order. We gave him one of our treasures: Pierce Pettis’ classic album, Chase the Buffalo, which is no longer in print. We have two copies. We had to share.
One of the songs that has spoken again and again to me over the years is “Family.” The chorus says:
let your love cover me
like a pair of angel wings
you are my family
you are my family
Family is a very mixed bag for me. Coming to a place where we are all gathered together is coming to hold on to what roots I have and coming into the arena to face the lions at the same time. When Pierce sings, “You are my family,” he sounds full of love and hope. For years, I heard that sentence — when it came from my parents — as one of obligation more than anything. Figuring out how to feel like I belonged in my family has been one of the biggest challenges of my journey. I’ve come a long way and there’s still work to do. And that’s my stuff. Coming together this time was so we could celebrate Scott. Whatever baggage I brought with me, this trip was about him, not me or anyone else. And we have celebrated him well.
He is a great guy, an amazing musician, a thoughtful human being, and an intentional Christian. I’m proud of who he is and expectant of who he will become. In the short time we all had together, I wanted him to feel loved and celebrated and I wanted what I did and said to lessen the possibility that family will be less of a conflicted entity that it is for me. I’m not really sure I can give him that, but it seems worth a try.
Even though we live a long way apart, I’m counting on Pierce to make my point every time Scott plays the CD. For thirteen years Pierce has reminded me what family is about; now I’m passing on the legacy and hoping I can do a good job of making Scott know he is loved and he belongs.