Family Forever

by Joanie Butman

Last weekend my family enjoyed a festive reunion to celebrate two high school graduations, two college graduations, a 40th, 60th and 90th birthday! Big families come with BIG celebrations because there are so many milestones to commemorate. As she was leaving, a niece I don’t see often said something that hit a cord: “Saying goodbye is so much easier when you know you’re going to see each other again.” We have a girls’ weekend planned in Chicago this August followed by a wedding in September, which means we can look forward to being together in the not-too-distant future.

She didn’t mean it in a spiritual sense, but the analogy was glaring. My kids claim I see God in everything, which I can’t deny. Isn’t that the point? What kind of Christian would I be if I didn’t? A fake one. I’m still trying to figure out why they perceive that trait as a negative. Regardless, this observation was even more poignant than usual because it was the second time I was reminded of this truth recently. The first was a few weeks ago at the funeral for a friend.

It was one of the most beautiful memorials I’ve attended. I applaud her husband who saw through his own pain to comfort those who loved his wife. His message was simply God is Greater – than his loss, his pain, his wife’s pain, our pain. He then conveyed why Christians grieve in a different way than others. Our promise of eternal life assures us that we will see each other again. It was balm to my aching soul. He concluded with this excerpt from a Richard Bach poem,

“Despair not at farewells,

for farewells are necessary to meet again,

and meeting again, after moments or lifetimes,

is certain for those who are friends and family.”

I’m no poet, but I’d add ‘in Christ’ to the end. When we choose to become members of God’s family, we can look forward with certainty to a Divine family reunion when we arrive in Heaven. That’s a celebration you definitely don’t want to miss. Choose wisely!

In Loving Memory of