A Word to the Wise: Enjoy your family while you can

By: Tom Rupp
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Two months ago, a member of our family died and some of her closest relatives planned a memorial gathering and meal. Forty of us recently met in one of our homes to celebrate our family, with one less member. Someone put together a slide show of photos. It is so fun to see how an individual changes over the years and to see photographic reminders of people who have been gone for so long. When you think about it, there are only a few things that we really have or possess. There are only a few things that cannot be lost, misplaced or stolen. For instance, consider our memories. We own them and no one can take them from us. We are our memories. Think also of this present moment; it is truly the only moment we have. The past is irretrievable and the future may never happen. No one can take away the fleeting now. This present moment, however temporary, is all ours. It is ours, not to own, but to experience, and then there it goes. The third is our family. At the end of the day, family is about all we have. Family is where, when you show up, they have to accept you. For better or worse we are our families. That’s the funny thing about a family — we did not enter it by choice. Oh I know, we choose who to marry and some people choose to adopt children, but as a general rule we had nothing to do with our place in the family. We did not choose them and they did not choose us. It just happened and here we are. It may be a trite expression but it is starkly true — it is what it is. Sitting there among the adults and children, I sense my place, if not in the cosmos, at least among this family. Also, the entire entity known as “family” is always in flux. It is dynamic and not static. We will probably never meet again as we did that day. Who knows who may the next one to leave this earth? In an act bordering between presumption and faith, we went ahead and penciled in a Saturday in July to try and get together again. All of our plans are submitted to the credo of “if the Lord wills” (James 4:15). We’ll see, and enjoy being with, who’s still around in five months. Perhaps a line from the Movie “Magnolia” sums it up best — “We may be through with the past, but the past ain’t through with us.” Tom Rupp is a Bible teacher at Capital Bible College. He can be reached at or through his blog at