The summer months are a time when school is out and families are able to take vacations together. I remember that, as a child, some of the most formative times of family bonding occurred on our family vacations. We would often spend our vacation time at Goose Island State Park near Rockport, Texas, camping and fishing. One year we ventured a little farther to visit my mother’s aunt and uncle in Beaumont. That was an exciting adventure! We got lost in Houston and my father got pulled over by a Houston police officer for going the wrong way on a one-way street. After explaining to him that we were from the little town of New Braunfels and unfamiliar with Houston traffic, he was kind enough to let us go without a ticket. On the way home, however, we just stayed on the freeway.
Sue and I often took our four sons on vacation at the beach at Crystal Beach, Texas, where we would rent a beach house and go swimming, fishing, and crabbing. This was when we were living in Robinson, near Waco. We always stayed on the freeway when we went through Houston so that we wouldn’t get lost or pulled over for going the wrong way. We still cherish those times together, and every so often we try to get the whole family together for another beach vacation.
This month, Sue and I will be going on a 40th wedding anniversary vacation to Seattle, Washington. While there, we’ll be visiting former members Jim and Mei Hoppie, who have graciously offered to be our hosts and guides. We will be touring Seattle, the North Cascades, Whistler and Victoria in British Columbia, Canada, and other sites around Bellingham.
As I give thanks for the family bonding that I have been able to experience on family vacations in the past, I grieve over the fact that today our federal government is separating children from their immigrant parents as part of Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ zero-tolerance policy with families who
enter illegally, or in some cases who are seeking asylum. I am reminded that for many families, it is a struggle just to survive, and time for family bonding is a faraway dream.
Although we humans are allowed some time off to take vacations, I am always reminded that our God never takes a vacation from caring for us. God is always with us to watch over us and provide for us. “The God who keeps you will not slumber. The God who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep,” (Psalm 121:3b-4) I pray that God will keep all of us as we spend time with family and friends this summer, and I pray that God will especially keep in God’s care those families that are separated from each other this summer as they enter our country.
I pray that we may be as gracious to them as that Houston police officer was to my father many years ago.
Blessings and Peace,