“Home Sweet Home” is much more than a saying that looks great on a plaque. Much more than ain’t that sweet. Much more than a house. It really revolves around family, love, respect, growing together in a covenant of trust, faith and support. To me, we have grown from a young (immature) wife and husband, to parents (mom and dad) who now have this wonderfully scary adventure of raising, protecting, teaching life to this brand new human being we call our son.
I was the one who had the steepest learning curve about raising a son. Shirley had it all down pat. Stephen has always been a creative soul who found new ways to unlock the front door on Saturday mornings (age 3) and go out in the snow in his PJ’s. A couple of times we heard a knock on the door by a neighbor who had Stephen by the hand – bringing him home in his wet PJ’s. The lock was at the top of the door. So, he would get a chair, put a hassock on the chair and something else to get him high enough to get the door unlocked.
We grew with that little creative spirit through all kinds of emotional wins and losses. Especially when he finally met that special person who came to watch him, her dad and brother play church softball. Every night she would be there with her Golden Retriever. Finally, her brother said to Stephen: “You should date my sister.” So he did and his life was changed forever. And so was ours. They have two wonderful kids that have brought renewed joy to our lives. We are truly blessed by this family.
Allow me to share with you what the experience of family has meant to me. I had just had heart by-pass surgery. I woke up in the old Cone ICU on morphine. The only thing that divided you from everyone else and the noise of all those machines and constant light was a curtain. I was mostly unconscious or in a great fog. The third day in ICU I got ICU Psychosis… I thought the nurses were trying to kill me. I would refuse medicines, food, and even crimp my IV tube until the machine started beeping. That evening, when the surgeon came in, I called him over to whisper to him that they were trying to kill me.
Dr. Gerhardt had me disconnected from all the ICU monitors and had me moved to the old 29 step-down unit. When they rolled me in the room, hooked me up, Shirley came in and closed the door behind her. I simply can’t describe the feeling of comfort and peace I felt. Shirley and that room was home to me. She stayed with me that night, and I can never repay the debt I own her for the covenant of family she shared with me that night. She brought with her love and peace. I knew I was safe in that room with her.
She has been with me all along in our journey. Praying for me every night when I was in Vietnam, listening to thousands of sermons, and loving me through all my blunders and insensitive actions. The covenant of family is to always make sure “Love Grows Here.”
And so, I pray: O Lord, there is no way I can thank you enough for giving me such a wonderful family that is filled with love, grace and peace. Amen.