When the rubber meets the road


Every family has a different look and it all depends on the members within the unit. I have stated for years that our children were all raised alike. They rode the same bus to school, came home together and ate at the same table. But, they could not be any more different then they are. They are all writing this family’s story in their way.
As I have developed a cast of characters for my four-book series, I am reminded how the characters have their place in the story. One character will be all over the page, another will be predictable and another one will be disruptive. But, they all move the story, spiritually, emotionally and physically.
Without them and without conflict, there wouldn’t be a story. Together, the characters respond to conflict in their way. They work hard to sell the readers to believe they are real, believable and redeemable. Their job is to make the readers fall in love with them and propel them to read to the end of the book.
Our family story consists of an assortment of characters. Allison is our take-charge kind of daughter and Cricket is the predictable and solid-as-a-rock oldest sister. Our son has met life on his own terms. Then, there is our youngest daughter, who is stubborn, but with a tender heart like her daddy. She and my Sweet Al stubbornly love beyond reason.
There is me. Apparently, the family thinks my character should be written in a different book and for a different genre, like a devotional book or Bible study book. I definitely belong in this family’s book. They need me, even if they hate to admit it.
Recently, we hit a rough patch in the road. In a book, it is called a conflict, which makes the story more interesting. I learned some valuable things about our family. When this pothole in the road stopped our vehicle, I knew I needed Allison to be with me. She is quick to understand, makes quick decisions and knows how to process things. I wanted her to hear what I was about to hear, so we’d be on the same page.
She and I entered the room that day, without a tear in our eyes, but with a matter-of-fact stance to get our story back on track.
As for my son-in-law, he is the practical thinker. I ask him questions for practical answers. He sees things differently and knows how to approach the matter. He’s like the compass or the map for our family. He sees where we are going.
Our oldest daughter in California kept up the spiritual support. She sent out prayer requests and many people responded with prayers and well wishes.
My Sweet Al and our youngest daughter were busy that day attending an auction when Allison and I went to the meeting. I told Allison, “We don’t need them in the room. They will only cry and make everyone else cry. We can’t afford to cry, we need to see the road ahead of us and drive the car.”
We were right, when they finally arrived, they cried through it all. They brought heart, but with stubborn love. They stepped up to meet the need in ways we couldn’t.
As a side note, I understand there are places for criers. People will pay good money for criers at funerals, weddings and events. I think after we get through this rough patch, I am going to find my Sweet Al a job as a crier. He’s sincere and will bring compassion and can earn a little money on the side.
Over the years, the family has looked at me as a spiritual fanatic. They are never sure what to do with me. They tease me, ignore me, even humor me, but when the rubber meets the road, they count on my prayers, my faith to stay steady, calm and get the car back on the road. The answer is always Jesus, no matter what is thrown in our way. Our hope in him gets us through. This family has seen some rough times, but we are still together as a family writing our story.
There have been many supporting characters in our story. We call them friends and neighbors. They have come alongside and pray for us when things get rough. People from all over the country, traveling on the same road as we are, have stopped their busy lives to help.
Our neighbors next door called and offered to help. If we hadn’t hit this rough road, we wouldn’t have seen the blessing of genuine friends, neighbors and the importance of family. We are very blessed.
Final brushstroke: The characters in this family’s story have moved into a new chapter. This journey in life is hard at best. Some travel in brand new shiny cars, some in broken-down rattletraps and some make the trip on foot. No matter the transportation, we are on a journey, called our story.
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