"Blessed be the tie that binds our hearts in Christian love; The fellowship of kindred minds is like that to that above." - John Fawcett, 1782
TOUGH CALL: This is a tough call. How on earth do I build a blog post around just a handful of pictures when there are probably a dozen or more I'd love to share? The occasion, last Sunday afternoon at my niece Hannah's home in Palmetto, just north of the Manatee River, was the Maul family photo-shoot. It was one for the ages.
A little history: Our family is fairly compact. My parents, David (1928) and Grace (1931), were born in pre-WW2 London.They had two boys, Geoff (1954) and Derek (1956).
Geoff has a daughter, Hannah; Rebekah and I are blessed with Andrew and Naomi. Hannah married Andrew Roberts; they have two children, Haley and Hudson. Naomi married Craig Campbell, and David Henry makes great-grandchild number three. Andrew, as of this writing, is still single.
We're a small family, yes, but it's still a challenge to get the whole crew together. Andrew flew in with me from Tuscany, and Naomi's family booked a flight from Connecticut. They were home simultaneously for the first time in four years, so this was the perfect opportunity for an extended family portrait. David Henry timed his arrival to perfection.
Like it or not, it's a fact that this kind of reunion will become increasingly difficult to pull off over time. My mum and dad are now 80 and 83 respectively; my brother, Geoff, is going head-to-head with a serious medical diagnosis; the future will likely bring additional spouses, children, and complexity. Bottom line, this was an opportunity we simply couldn't pass up.
The Roberts contingency spent Thanksgiving in Georgia and flew home after lunch Sunday. So we all met, late Sunday afternoon, in their front garden. It was an unforgettable evening. We passed around the new baby, we celebrated our connections, we deepened our love, we shared our joys and our challenges, and the ties that bind us were drawn closer as a result.
Hannah's cousin, Alisia, handled the photography. The results, I believe, were most excellent.
Bottom Line: When my parents, David Maul and Grace Kemp Maul, started their family in the mid 1950's, they had one simple plan. They set out to build a home where the constant reference point was faith, and where everything they did was poured through the filter of their commitment to follow Jesus. Faith in God is not simply important, or even the number one priority, it is the very ground they stand on.
The moment in time these photographs were taken, November 27, 2011, was a direct result of sixty years of faithfulness to that promise. Sure, there have been bumps in the road - there have been difficulties and challenges and flat-out disasters - but faithfulness holds true and sure like the star that guided the magi to the newborn king two-thousand years ago.
There's a story in every moment, of course. But this one makes it into the books....
In love and because of faithfulness - DEREK