Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Born Out of Loneliness

Gary and I have been married since 1986, and for the first fourteen years of our marriage, we lived less than an hour away from his parents, my grandparents, and a few other extended family members.  Living so close, of course, meant that we always spent holidays with family.  Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, and even birthday celebrations found us surrounded by many loved ones.  They were lovely days, filled with laughter and sweet memories. 




In May, 2000, however, Gary and I and our two children left Florida and made the cross-country move to Boise, Idaho. With thousands of miles between our loved ones and us, spending holidays with them was no longer possible. In fact, we haven't spent a single holiday with family since Christmas 1999, which means holidays can often be lonely and somewhat depressing. For several years, we whined about not being with family during the holidays, but we eventually realized that the best thing to do when you are lonely and sad and missing someone is to take your eyes off yourselves and reach out to others. Which is exactly what we did.

Two Thanksgivings found our family of four serving at the Idaho State Veterans' Home. We served a meal to the veterans and just spent time chatting with the men. It was a beautiful experience.

At Christmas, we began looking around for other families who were also far from loved ones, and we invited them to share in a Christmas Eve feast at our house. We opened our door to people we knew well and some we didn't---a co-worker of Gabrielle's; an older couple from our then-church; former neighbors; families whose children Gabrielle taught in Sunday School (but who Gary and I had never met). One time, we even invited a young man none of us had ever even laid eyes on until the moment he showed up at our door Christmas Eve---he was a new arrival in town, the friend of a Florida friend's daughter. Every single gathering was filled with joy and laughter and abundant blessings.

Our heart for reaching out to others and sharing a meal with them began with Thanksgiving and Christmas, then it was Memorial Day, then Easter, then the 4th of July. It wasn't long until it became what it is now---an open door any day of the year. We simply love opening our home to others, sharing a meal together, and extending the love of Jesus to them.

Although born out of loneliness and the longing for family, God had so much more in mind. So may I encourage you, if you are living far from loved ones and find yourself lonely and a little blue this Thanksgiving season, why not do what our family did---look outward, notice all the hurting souls around you, and open your home to one or two of them. I feel sure God will use your open heart to not only bless others, but to bless you as well.

Thank you so much for stopping by.  I hope your visit has encouraged or inspired you.

Linking to:

No Place Like Home
Home and Garden Thursday

Love, Patty

9 comments:

  1. This is lovely, Patti! Reaching out is a beautiful ministry and endears you to so many people. When we do this for others, we always receive a blessing too. Thank you for sharing at my No Place Like Home party. Hugs...Sandi

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  2. A lovely post, Patti, and so encouraging! I loved reading this. Thank you for sharing it. So many people in that situation do tend to just pity themselves for how different things are now, when reaching out would do them and others so much good.

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  3. What a wonderful way to fill the emptiness of not having family around. We have family close by but I keep thinking that some year I'm just going to sign us all up to serve at the mission and not tell them until it's time (because I know a few will make excuses and not come if I give them time to think).

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  4. I love this post. This is what my hubby and I have done all our married life, as we moved away and served in the ministry in far off places, and there was always someone who didn't have any family to go to for the holidays, so we became family. After we moved back "home" in 1997 to be near our aging parents, we still continued that tradition of 'adopting' "strays" I'd call them. People who needed family to be with. Strangely, I think this coming Thanksgiving will be first one in many years that will be all family and no "strays", but there will be 15 of us anyway...from both sides of our family. We have recently downsized to a smaller house...but that doesn't seem to matter...we will be cozy and have a great time. Please always keep up your tradition. Your home is a safe haven for people who need to be with you. You are a blessing to them from the Lord, and I know it is vice versa. Wonderful!!

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  5. What a blessing you are to so many others! We too are far from family and have formed what we call our extended family here in Florida. We have nine (maybe 10) for Thanksgiving this year. I love it when I can put the leaf in the table! Like you, our door is always open to others and life is good!

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  6. I am always in awe of people who are go gracious at opening their homes & offering dinners for the holidays. I wish I had that gift in me - I do good to feed me & the hubby... God bless you for having that giving heart.

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  7. It must have been so difficult to adjust to being away from your family. But I love how you have reached out to others. You are a blessing to many!

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  8. Hello Patti. Thanks for your visits and comments to my blog, Writing Straight from the Heart. I'm your newest follower now! I know exactly how you feel about being far from family. We did the same thing-----moved almost cross country----we were gone for 12 years but then made the transition back to New England. I have to say I am happy with the outcome. Hope you have a blessed weekend. Susan

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  9. You are so amazing. My husband would never go for any of that. We moved away from Chicago Illinois with our two children to Southern California 30 years ago. We haven't celebrated with our families either except for a Thanksgiving in Texas. My daughter and son in law moved to Montana 3 years ago so now it's even harder for me. Thankfully we have our son, daughter in law and grandson who is one living nearby. They now do Thanksgiving at their house but we will have them here for Christmas each year. It's not the same anymore and I like what you and your family have done. I'm very impressed.

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Thanks so much for stopping by and for taking the time to leave me a comment. I love hearing from you!