“God sets the lonely in families…”
Last Thanksgiving was pretty much awesome. We traveled south of nowhere or “The Valley” as the Texans call it.
We were spending the holiday with my middle sister and her crazy-ass family.
My best friend Elle, her husband Jay, and baby Z also came along for a wild ride with this family of mine.
My brother-in-law, the biggest redneck you’ll encounter, with the biggest heart ever, is all about a good time. Dan Conner likes to appear to be an incorrigible loud grouch.
When Elle, Jay, and Z walked into my sister’s home, Dan Conner boomed out:
This may not be seem like much, but I’ve watched my best friend’s family face a situation that is ongoing with no end in sight. A situation that has left their family splintered and heartbroken. Just hearing someone they didn’t know all that well call them family was a healing balm. A soothing source that none of us could’ve anticipated.
Z was a hit with my niece and all my nephews. (One niece and five nephews, now that’s a blog post for another day!) Z especially hit it off with Mr. Sunshine (nephew 4 of the 5). He is pretty much the most compassionate kid I have ever known. I’m not sure if its friendliness or his captivating voice or maybe it’s his rueful grin. I just don’t know, but man, that kid just enjoyed and loved the heck out of Z.
Don’t get me wrong, he is all boy. He will slug the living crap out of his younger brother, but still he is pure joy. Mr. Sunshine has another quality I love, the quality of Naming, just like his redneck dad.
Within a few short hours of our arrival, Mr. Sunshine was calling my friends Aunt Elle and Uncle Jay. And Z was now their newest cousin. Just like that the power of Naming.
Let us be like that.
It is imperative that we Name and validate and breathe life into one another. Let us celebrate the beauty of messy, large organisms called Family and invite others into it. We never truly know the story of someone until we invite them in and Name them ours.
Don’t underestimate the power of Naming.
“To be given a name is an act of intimacy as powerful as any act of love…To name is to love. To be named is to be loved.”
– Madeleine L’Engle