For those who may not know, today is National Siblings Day so make sure to give that brother/sister of yours who’s lucky enough to share the same genes as you a HUGE hug or phone call. Well, huge if it’s a hug and obviously that adjective doesn’t quite work for just calling them (I suppose it would be “huge” if you yell on the phone but that’s not a very nice thing to do to your siblings).
Awesomely enough, I actually got to eat lunch with one of mine on this day of all days! That may not sound like much but you see, my husband and I moved to GA a few years ago and both of our families are still in NC. That being the case, I have a wonderful older brother and sister that I rarely have a chance to see – along with a whole gaggle of other cool cats who will forever be a part of my life because of those specials bonds of blood and marriage. My sister and niece happened to come near our neck of the woods later this week and left this afternoon (which is why this post ended up being Sunday rather than Saturday but posting on the official post day has admittedly seen several challenges lately). After a brief but great time together, I gave them both a hug and final farewell as they began their trek back up to the Tar Heel state around 1:00ish. I then made my way back into our condo and went to take a shower…and found myself suddenly convicted by the fact that I didn’t pray with them when I had the billion and one chances to do so while they were in poking distance.
For some, maybe most, reading this that last part probably feels like an unexpected left turn – something that is as equally likely to occur in my writing as it is in my driving. I’ll try to explain without taking too many more but at least if you do enough left turns, you’ll end up in the right direction again. So here’s the thing – I’m a Christian who’s generally not so great at showing that in my actions and words. Around family and friends, I tend to shy away from saying grace out loud or anything else like that – unless it’s friends from church, then I have no problem of course. And a bit of the kicker here is that both of these family members are Christian too so it should have been no problemo to simply say “hey, do you guys mind if we pray together” or “it’s been so great seeing you, can I pray for you before you two hit the road?” And yet, while I can honestly say it didn’t fully enter my head in that time and moment to push those questions through my mouth, what really irks me is the simple fact that it didn’t and the knowledge that if it had, I would have chickened out.
Jesus was pretty clear that while anyone who claims to follow him shouldn’t make a big show out of praying and basically wave a “hey, look at how religious I am!” flag around, we’re not supposed to shy away or be embarrassed to mention him either. We didn’t do church today because time was short but praying? How quick and easy that would have been. And so I suppose that’s what the shower time conviction stems from – I know that in my heart of hearts, I backed down for fear of seeming weird or simply making things awkward. It was fear of man, in this case, “man” being my super fabulous family.
I’m aware that some reading this blog are not Christian and so this whole struggle is probably a big can of whaaaat? Even my own sister and niece who this post ended up largely about (not actually sure if they read this blog to be honest – guess this is one way to find out) would likely react the same way. So even though it may still make as much sense as Greek being spoken backwards, thanks for letting me share. On that note, I’m well aware that those of us who call ourselves Christians have tended to make ourselves out to be the most unloving people on the planet despite our proclamation otherwise. We are hypocrites. We are known as some of the worst gossipers. Some of us yell at people from street corners to repent or tell others that they’re going to hell unless they hook up with the J team. (To be clear, I’m not saying sharing one’s faith is wrong but neither of the latter two methods ever made me want to pick up a Bible before I became Christian – why would I want to follow your god if you’re being a jerk and yelling at me?). Even though those of us who drive around with little fish stuck on the trunks of our cars and whatnot are called to love our neighbor as ourselves (Mark 12:31) and to do unto others as we would have them do to us (Matthew 7:12), we tend to be very horrible at showing any sort of brotherly love to those around us. So while I work towards being better at not shying away from simple opportunities to just be myself, I offer an apology to all those for whom the word Christian has a sour sound because of how lousy we can be as your fellow siblings of the human race.