He gets his plate, forgets his fork and his drink out of sheer eagerness of this nightly ritual, and heads to our big dining room table. It’s the same table that held my family’s holiday gatherings and special occasions for over 20 years. No matter what’s going on, football games, movie rentals, old reruns of Batman…he gets his plate and heads to the table, looking at us expectantly, hoping that we will choose the same. Sometimes I wonder if the 20 plus years of family, love, and fellowship that have gathered at that table somehow draws him there. It’s odd to think about how different dinner is for him. It’s not just food for him. It’s much more.
It’s weird how family can become so normal for some of us. We get in our patterns, set our routine, and just coast along, almost forgetting the gift that God gave in family. Seeing our family through his eyes has been fascinating for me. We are interesting to him. He wants to know us…not just know us, but know us. He wants to look us in the eye over a plate of hot food and study us. He wants to interject into the conversation his thoughts about subjects so we can study him. He wants to soak up the stories he’s heard from us so he can retell them later including himself in the memory. He wants to feel the fellowship that he’s missed out on.
I’m convicted by this wide-eyed child, constantly begging me to show him what it’s like to be a member of a real family, what it’s like to be a son, a brother, a grandson. The things that I find completely normal, he savors. The things I find to be boring, he finds incredibly interesting. The things that I find to be ordinary, he sees as unique. It’s humbling to be challenged by a child. And it’s absolutely lovely to see family through the eyes of one who hasn’t had it. The strange thing is that the one who hasn’t had family is the one who so often reminds me what it should look like.