Grow Family Love This February

Some relatives are like mountains—best viewed from a distance. A few of mine may think that of me, but if I had to list them, my nephew Jeremy wouldn’t be among them. Though he does live over the mountains, I’m confident of this: Jeremy loves me.

 When he was younger and still living at home, Jeremy didn’t mind spending time with this far-away aunt. For almost every visit I made to my sister’s B.C. home, I have a unique “Jeremy-memory.”

 On one of my trips, I bought an antique silver horn at an island market. A century ago at least, I played French Horn in high school. The antique reminded me of that.

 My sister hadn’t come on that shopping trip, so on my first evening at her home I pulled it out for show and tell—show and blow, in this case. Fumbling to recall correct fingering and embouchure—the position of the mouth—I struggled through Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, Jesus Loves Me…and…

 “Good night, Auntie,” my sister’s daughter said finally. “I’ll say good night, too,” my sister’s husband said. “Sorry, Kath, but I can barely keep my eyes open,” my sister said. And she too crept away.

 They love me also. I knew that. But I played abysmally. I knew that, too—I just couldn’t stop: hot air must rise.

 And there sat Jeremy, listening as though I were John Cerminaro, the world’s greatest living horn player, come to toot for him. He ignored my bad notes and cracking pitches. Whenever I managed to patch together a tune, he clapped and made a request. We carried on that way long into the night—and I stopped first.

 “I’m going rock climbing today,” Jeremy announced during another visit.

 “Hey, I’ve always wanted to try that!” I said. In my next clear memory I’m standing at the bottom of a vertical rock wall, harnessed like an Alpine explorer. In the next one after that, I’m twenty-five feet up, looking at a skinny almost-man holding my rope twenty-five feet down. Jeremy.  

 Several years ago, when a move made it impossible for the Preacher and I to take our great white cat to our next home, Jeremy called. “Auntie,” he said. “You can’t send Moses to live with just anyone! He’s part of the family.” 

 So he and “the lovely Sylvia” as he calls his wife, along with my sister and brother-in-law, travelled two provinces over to fetch the cat.

 “He doesn’t travel well, Jer,” I’d warned. Sure enough, within a half hour on the road, the cat “peed, puked, and pooped” (in Jeremy’s words) his grateful introduction to the family who rescued him and has loved him since.

 God designed the love that pieces a family together—and God knows that only shared time and genuine interest will hold it together.

 Shock your family this month of love. Spend focused time together. Try something new together. And don’t be surprised if you find yourself tiptoeing toward the mountain.


I love the images and bouyant music on this Ziggy video…(RSS readers will find it at