Family is Family; Through the Generations

Robert Ridlon my oldest son and I attended my Uncle Vincent’s burial yesterday. This took us to my city of birth. It was an emotional roller coaster to see how things have drastically changed over the years. The land, the closeness, and the people present are vastly different since I was a little girl. Visiting the family cemetery was especially sad! So many loved ones have been laid to rest in the cemetery over generations and I found myself flooded with grief from many different directions. My sister, uncles, aunts, and cousins laid to rest in this place. All this was a reminder of how quickly time flies and yet we live like we have forever! We don’t! The Bible says our life is life a breeze just passing through. Yet, we fail to make time to visit loved ones, attend reunions, we hold long grudges, and fail to cherish those we love. I am guilty of these things and struggle through life just like everyone else. Life is hard! Family can be joyful, but they also have the ability to hurt us at the deepest level. To protect our pocket books, time, and feelings we fail to show up. It’s a heavy and sad fact, but it’s the truth! Life is a vapor; Here today and gone tomorrow! This biblical truth hit me square in the heart over the past several days.

Sitting here this evening after a heavy week of loss; Losing our family dog, another uncle, and visiting the city where I was born and spent much of my childhood. I’m reminded of how much more I’ve lost over the years. Sadly, we don’t have a close knit family. I wish we did! Some are closer than others. My aunts and uncles, my mom’s brothers and sisters, there were 14 in total and 9 lived into adulthood, they all had a deep bond. Years of listening to their stories helped me feel like I have a solid understanding of my roots.

Perhaps this is the way it is with many families. The reality makes me sad, but I’m reminded in these places and times of how much we have in common. Not only do we share blood lines & DNA, but we share memories that no one else in the world shares. We share love for loved ones! We share a genuine affection for a plot of land in Arkansas that means so much to each one of us, where we all grew up playing and because it is the land of our heritage. We share the same God who created us, although our faith and life circumstances are may be vastly different.

There are many things I still don’t understand about family; but there are a few things I know without a doubt. Distance, age difference, life experiences have a huge impact on family relationships. When we grow distant; we fail to grow together. This is a fact of life! This doesn’t mean failure, it is just a part of life! I was never meant to remain in my birth town for life, it wasn’t God’s plan for me. I am thankful for God’s hand over my life. I am thankful for the wonderful memories, and will cherish my extended family forever! Although, this trip brought cherished moments with loved ones, it also brought a heavy dose of sadness and what feels like an unwelcome sense of “finality” in many ways. I don’t know what the future holds for any of us; I do know the memories from the past and I am grateful to have been born in such an amazing family heritage.

I’m not even sure any of this makes sense, just trying to somehow write out the overwhelming feelings that seem to be flooding my heart this evening!

Blessings, Crystal

I’ll end with the lyrics of one of my favorite songs… It’s not a Christian song; but it’s a song I can relate to; maybe you can too.

Family is Family by Kacey Musgraves

“They’re there for your first year, they give you your first beer
When you get your heart broke, they’re there for your worst year
Don’t get you at all, but your apple don’t fall too far from ’em
They own too much wicker and drink too much liquor
You’d wash your hands of them, but blood’s always thicker
You might look just like ’em, that don’t mean you’re like ’em
But you love ’em
Family is family, in church or in prison
You get what you get, and you don’t get to pick ’em
They might smoke like chimneys, but give you their kidneys
Yeah, friends come in handy, but family is family
They’re there when you’re married, divorced, and remarried
You fall out of touch, but then someone gets buried
And you’re right back together like no time has ever gone by
Can’t live with or without ’em, you might talk about ’em
But if someone else does, well, then you’ll knock ’em out ’cause
When it’s all said and done, they’re the only ones that you got
Family is family, in church or in prison
You get what you get, and you don’t get to pick ’em
They might smoke like chimneys, but give you their kidneys
Yeah, friends come in handy, but family is family
Yeah, family is funny, they’ll ask you for money
Even though they know you ain’t got no money
They show up at Christmas, get up in your business
They might not be fancy, but family is family
You might look just like ’em, that don’t mean you’re like ’em
But you love ’em”


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