Freedom means Family
What was the first word that came to your mind when you thought of the 4th of July this year? Was it fireworks? Independence? Freedom? Food? Day off? While all of those are appropriate, the one word that came to my mind was family. That’s it. Last year this time, we had to cancel our Stevens Family Reunion for the first time ever. No Friday night low country boil with fish and grits. No Saturday gathering with a sermonette, country cooking and games. No Sunday service followed by more food. This time, we'd planned to have just a virtual reunion via Facebook and Zoom. Then, we found out there would be an in-person gathering for those who felt comfortable attending. It was exciting for me to drive to Riceboro, GA, my birthplace. I was ecstatic, probably more than ever before, to make the drive 'home' to be with my family. Maybe we had a very small crowd. Maybe we had to share it on Facebook and Zoom. That’s ok. We were with family. We heard stories of what it was like for our parents’ generation. We still laughed, prayed, sang, heard the Word and ate together. This year was so much different for me, and it awakened a deeper appreciation for freedom and family. Last year we did not have the opportunity to look at each other and touch and enjoy a meal in the same location. For that reason, this time it was very special. Last year we were able to communicate with some loved ones who are no longer alive. Next year is not promised to any of us. If you have any family and loved ones, at least reach out to them. You don’t have to wait until a holiday or special occasion to do so. Maybe you are not able to get together quite like you did before the pandemic. Do something. If you cannot meet face to face, then do the next best thing and give them a call or schedule a video call. Yes, it’s appropriate to be grateful for a day off, for our freedom, the fireworks, for our independence. Most of all, let’s be grateful for our family and the people who are like family. Somehow, let’s tell them that we’re glad that we can still hear their voices, see their smiles, hear their laughter. One day it might not be possible and we may not have that opportunity. Let's value our freedom. If these events are not a happy time for you, then I'm praying for you. God is able to provide the strength, comfort, and help you need in any season of your life. You can depend on Him. He promised never to leave you or forsake you. You are not alone, we are family.