This weekend, my brother and sister came home with their kids. My brother stayed with my folks - 4 kids, 2 dogs. My sister stayed with Chuck and me ... no dogs, 1 amazing Liza-child.
Fun, busy, full, chaotic ... all words to describe the few days we had together.
But last night, as Chuck and I helped my folks clean up their home after the fun, what struck me was how tired my folks looked.
So darn tired.
But my dad said, "We always want our kids to come home. We always want them to have fun. And we will do whatever it takes for as long as we can to make that happen."
I love my folks so much.
But at this moment, I just really loved their fierce love for their family.
And their fierce willingness to pay whatever price they need to pay in order to have all their children come home.
Even if that price is their own bone-deep exhaustion.
Reminded me of this beautiful bit of writing from my favorite Presbyterian minister, Frederick Buechner ...
"Honor your father and your mother," says the Fifth Commandment (Exodus 20:12).
Honor them for having taken care of you before you were old enough to take care of yourself.
Honor them for the sacrifices they made on your behalf, including the ones you would have kept them from making if you'd had the chance.
Honor them for having loved you.
But how do you honor them when, well-intentioned as they may have been, they made terrible mistakes with you that have shadowed your life ever since?
How do you honor them when, far from loving you or taking care of you, they literally or otherwise abandoned you?
How do you honor them when physically or sexually or emotionally they abused you?
The answer seems to be that you are to honor them even so.
Honor them for the pain that made them what they were and kept them from being what they might otherwise have become.
Honor them because there were times when, even at their worst, they were doing the best they knew how to do.
Honor them for the roles they were appointed to play—father and mother—because even when they played them abominably or didn't play them at all, the roles themselves are holy the way priesthood is holy even when the priest is a scoundrel.
Honor them because, however unthinkingly or irresponsibly, they gave you your life.
(Note - my parents were awesome. They did none of the above awful things, only the good ones ... Just felt I should clarify)