Our best friends from college visited us last weekend. They're a great couple, and although I've known them longer than Jamie has, both of us feel right at home with them when we get together, no matter how long it's been since we last met.
We spent the weekend going to Louisiana to see a cousin graduate from college, but also had plenty of time to just sit and talk. We talked about our lives, our churches, raising a family, money... the usual. They also had birthdays this month, which is a big deal because the husband turns 80 next year.
Oh -- did I forget to mention? My best friends from college are my grandparents. As a 30-year-old man, I am extremely blessed to have all four grandparents still living and active, and all four live in the town where I went to college. They have been our biggest fans for a long time.
My mother's parents visited last weekend, and in July I'll get to spend an entire week with my father's parents. It will be nearly 30 years in a row that we've spent a summer vacation together. It is one of our family's richest traditions, right up there with taking pictures at mealtime.
I stayed home late Monday morning instead of going to the office at my usual time, just to steal a couple more hours with my grandparents before they flew back home. As we parted, I mentioned that just like the bible says Mary "treasured all these things (Jesus' childhood) up in her heart", I treasured our time together. We are all well aware that every human being is mortal, and at some point my grandparents will all move on to the next part of their journey, whatever form that takes. Until then, we are cherishing every moment with our best friends.
A sociologist once said, "Family serves two noble purposes. First, to appreciate all different stages of life. Second, to experience unconditional love."
My family definitely thrives in both.