I'm thankful to be a Clore. But I'm thankful to know that I am so much more than that. I'm a Wilson, and a Richmond, and a Wallace. My bride is a Clore, and a Mitchell, and a Wright, and the list goes on and on for each of us, back into time for decades and decades.
Identity is an important thing; an extremely important thing. Family is where we start, and it's where we end. They're the ones that are there when things are great, and when things are terrible. They're the only ones, usually, that stick around when there's really no other appeal, except for love.
I recently read a book about Rich Mullins' amazing life, written by James Bryan Smith. The book is called "An Arrow Pointing To Heaven." This book changed the way I view the world. The paragraphs that really caught my attention are the following (pg. 28). These words describe the home that I, along with my bride, hope and pray to help create someday.
Our parents create an environment in which we can grow. We call it the home. The home is the most powerful place on earth. It is the cradle of the soul. Our minds and personalities, our loves and our hates, our fears and our dreams are all molded in the home. The home is the work-shop of God, where the process of character-making is silently, lovingly, imperceptibly carried on. We search throughout our lives for love and identity, and if we are fortunate, we may find it.
The quest for our identity will always lead us back to our families. They are the ones with whom we discover our potential, as well as our limitations. They are the ones through whom and with whom we learn how to live. It is sheer hubris to think that we are "self-made" women and men. We learn how to live from other people. We did not develop in a vacuum; we were taught how to function from other people and by no one more so than our parents and our siblings. Rich's family shaped him, and he in turn shaped them.
We have families because we are weak creatures, and God knows that we need them. Throughout our lives, those people who knew us first are a part of our makeup even if they are difficult to live with. Old men and women can see their parents in their minds as if it were yesterday. Even in his last years, Rich could still picture his dad cussing in the barn and managing to grow plants out of the tough Indiana clay. He could see his mom hanging laundry and could taste her cornbread and beans. Jamming seven people into a car that seats five may not be comfortable, but it is family. In terms of soul-shaping, it is the most powerful place in the world.
(Listen to Rich's song, "First Family," and some of the above references will make more sense.)
We are very thankful for our families and realize their importance in and on our lives, now, more than ever; especially our parents.
Identity matters. All thanks to God that it does.