Wisdom Builds Family
It’s one thing to have people in your life who you love deeply. It’s another to be a catalyst to help those you love to love each other. That’s what building family is all about. It’s Jesus’ great desire expressed in John 17. Love and unity, based on and flowing from God’s love and unity is what powerfully shows the world the power of God.
20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message,
21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.
22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one:
23 I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. (John 17:20-23)
Jesus expressed a similar thought earlier in John 13:34-35, 34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
35 By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
I have often admired Wyndham’s determination and ability to build family—both in our immediate family as well as with work colleagues, friends, small groups, and churches. I also realize this didn’t happen by accident. It was nurtured. Purposely. He is convinced that joy is multiplied when those we love, love each other. That’s also how unity is built.
Our family loves spending time together. I mean, we really love it. We are best friends with each other, including the in-laws. The cousins (our grandkids) are best friends. Beyond the family, I am also grateful for our friendships and the partnerships we share communally.
So how does “building family” happen? Are the relationships just meant to be—and exceptionally compatible? Does it happen randomly or accidentally? I don’t think so.
As I think through the qualities and characteristics that have helped to build family, several values important to Wyndham stand out to me:
- Making special times to be together– Whether the two of us, the immediate family, a work staff, or some other group, Wyndham set (and kept) times to be together—and asked for others to give that time as well. For the family, it was daily at the dinner table, weekly in family devotionals, and yearly on a vacation—getting away together. For others, it was various kinds of gatherings. And in those times memories were built…
- Building memories – Having fun together, laughing together, sharing in each other’s special events, reminiscing, and crying together are all part of building family. Deliberate effort was made to pull each other in to these times. (No one left behind.) I’m so grateful for the memories and the pictures (and those who remembered to take pictures). Memories live on. Even though Wyndham can no longer “do” much. He can however—remember, pray, laugh, and cry with “the one others” in his life.
- Expressing love and affection – Affection is not my first love language…mine is all about acts of service, However it’s one of Wyndham’s love languages, and I have learned from him just how important this is to help people feel loved. Wyndham is a big giver of hugs, and taught our kids to be affectionate. Thus, whenever anyone comes or goes- down to the youngest grandkids, there is a lot of giving and receiving of hugs. Affection actually does make a difference—There is even data for the way it improves our quality of life. Also, for years we have celebrated every birthday by sharing something we love about the birthday person. This never gets old.
- Shared purpose and love for our heavenly Father – Praying together as a group, serving the poor together, sharing our faith together (and at times borrowing each others’ faith)…all of these help build comradery—family. Even if our physical families are not close, we can certainly build and find our place as we give to each other in our spiritual family.
- Expressing qualms and hurts—and resolving such quickly. Every family will have misunderstandings, hurts, and even “bumps” (which is a kind and light word for fights.) No family or group is without sin and “stupidity.” Wyndham never let these things sit. Unresolved feelings would be resolved. Grace and forgiveness are crucial in any building of family. If someone was feeling something, he would dig until they could express what was inside. Pretty soon, this was normal practice with each other. It became customary.
Wisdom helps those we love to love each other. Let’s be wise as we lovingly interact to “build family.”
I could fill a daily blog for years with wisdom I have learned from Wyndham. However, I’ll stick with one day a week. Each Wednesday I will share wisdom gleaned, not just from me, but from our family who saw him day and night and from friends near and far whose lives he has touched.
Many of you have already told me you wish to share wisdom you learned from Wyndham. If you wish to contribute to this collection please email me at email@example.com with the subject line—Wednesday Wisdom. If you wish to receive these blogs in your inbox, feel free to sign up to follow the blog.