There is a certain level of comfort that we enjoy only when we are around family. We don’t worry about messing up by saying the wrong thing or acting the wrong way because everyone else speaks and acts about the same as we do. We are genuinely interested in the victories and woes of the lives of these people who have been through so much with us already. It is a safe environment where we can depend on certain people in certain roles.
On nights like tonight at Floyd’s annual Relay for Life, I am reminded of how family is not always limited to relatives whose blood we share. As the luminary ceremony began, a woman with whom I was holding hands asked how I’d been. I knew she was genuinely concerned (and I thank her for that). She said, “You know, we’re like family.” I told her that’s just how I felt earlier in the evening when I misplaced my camera (as usual). I didn’t really panic, except for the notion that I might have thrown it in the trash can. I was actually pretty casual about it, thinking to myself that if someone found it and turned it on they might recognize A.J. in my pics and know it needed to be returned to me. Unfortunately, that’s not the case in much of the world. But on this night, in this community, we are family.
At the completion of the luminary ceremony, another lady told me excitedly that the moon and the north star hung just perfectly above the letters in HOPE that were lit up. “If that’s not a sign I don’t know what is—they’re smiling down at us,” she said. They must be. And though we may be unworthy in so many other ways, I know that God must smile down at a family who loves as abundantly as the family in this community does.