Friday, March 16, 2012

Siblings: don't waste them - they're the only ones you have

Family pictures on the piano...
I've been logging a lot of miles to Sarasota/Bradenton and back over the last couple of months, and even more over the past few days.

Yesterday I went down to take my mum out to lunch and help with a few details. Later, we went back to my folks' house for a cup of tea and I made note of a new picture on the piano. It's our son, Andrew, with his girlfriend, Alicia. It was taken at Lake Como in Northern Italy and my parents are so taken with the photograph that it ended up front and center - on the piano no less (That's me, Dad and Geoff to the right).

BACKGROUND STORY: My dad's parents, Fred and Connie Maul, had four children and 13 grandchildren. I think it's fair to say that my grandpa was a little on the strict side, and it's also fair to say that he made it crystal clear when family members were not exactly in his good graces.
What I didn't realize was how obvious this sense of being taken to account was to some of my cousins. Evidently certain parties were in a state of "disfavor" on a regular basis.

Detail from the photo "on the piano"
It appears there was even a hierarchy in terms of how and where the family pictures were displayed in the living room. There were places of honor (culminating in the holy-of-holies, a.k.a. the piano), and then there were the dusty, lower, and obscure alcoves where lesser children, in-laws and cousins languished in a kind of photographic purgatory.

Again, I was clueless until one day, foraging for food in my grandmother's kitchen, I heard a piercing scream from the front of the house. I ran in to the living room to discover my cousin Kathleen - around 12 at the time - with her hands to her cheeks and her mouth wide open. She was staring at the piano.

"I can't believe it," she said when I asked what was the matter; "We've finally made it to the piano!"

Flowers for Grandma Grace!
BACK TO 2012: That was my grandparents' house in England; this is my mum and dad's home in Sarasota. However, needless to say, Andrew called Alicia immediately to let her know the good news!

But, I've got to tell you, Andrew is a "piano quality" grandchild on every count. In fact, I'm more than proud of how both our children have responded in the face of family crisis. This week my parents were the recipients of a most beautiful basket of white flowers from Andrew; not only that but he's flying in from Italy for the memorial.

Naomi has sent thoughtful cards, called on a regular basis, mailed Geoff a beautiful painting a couple of weeks before he died, and will also be flying in - along with her husband Craig and our grandson David - for next weekend's service.

DON'T MISS OUT! So here's my one and only real point in today's post... You only have the one set of siblings. Don't let the regrets get ahead of the grace.

Hmmm, that's not bad; I like that a lot. Let's let that one sit for a while. "Don't let the regrets get ahead of the grace."
Family: Don't let the regrets get ahead of the grace. Really.
Peace - in every way - DEREK

Derek and Geoff, one week ago...
How wonderful and pleasant it is when brothers live together in harmony!
2 For harmony is as precious as the anointing oil that was poured over Aaron’s head, that ran down his beard and onto the border of his robe.
3 Harmony is as refreshing as the dew from Mount Hermon that falls on the mountains of Zion. And there the LORD has pronounced his blessing, even life everlasting. - Psalm 133

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