The things we picked up…step by step

smores were eaten

step by step

and we've come this far

I’m taking a break from the news, for at least this one moment in time.  Instead of writing about Jennifer’s coming out, or Bruce’s getting kicked out, I want to take a moment and talk about my family.

We’d all cleared our schedule for this past weekend because my oldest daughter is moving to Europe for two years and this was our time to celebrate being a family. We enjoyed some time together in the mountains.  We ate steaks and smores, drank coffee and wine, talked about everything.  We laughed a lot.  We woke early on Saturday and hiked in the snow.  We prayed together a couple of times, but neither my wife or I could finish a prayer without shedding a couple tears of gratitude for this remarkable gift of family that we enjoy.  After more than 30 years, my wife and I are better friends than ever – more honest, quicker for forgive, and more at rest in the certainty of our love for each other.   As if this weren’t enough, our kids love each other fiercely, and it was clear to me that they were savoring the moments of the weekend just as we were.

The picture of the ascent reminds me that the profound joy we realize when we’re together isn’t manufactured in a day or a week.  Step by step- that’s what’s brought us this far.  Confessions, frustrations, forgiveness, rebuildings, confrontations, restorations, homework, holidays, reading books in front of the woodstove, family devotions, music lessons, little league, high school plays, thousands and thousands of meals, many of them with guests at the table from all over the world, dishes, diapers, climbs together, nights out under the stars, trips to Colorado when the Elk are running through the National Park by thousands right outside our tent, playing music together, or tennis, reading CS Lewis together, home-school, Christian School, Public School, graduations, celebrations, funerals… If you ask me what shaped our children, I’d say all this and pages more because it really is “step by step” – day after familiar day – that shapes each of us and our families.

I also happen to believe that Jesus is at the center of it all, granting us the capacity to both forgive, confess, keep on the road, and love each other beyond our capacity.  We’re already back into our various worlds as the new week begins – but with another step taken towards intimacy, as we celebrated our own life together, and the countless gifts we’ve enjoyed as a family.

I’ll write about the other stuff soon enough, but this stuff, this personal stuff is life giving and important to me.  I hope it’s helpful to you in some small way.  If you want the full photo show, click here.

Be blessed…

About Richard Dahlstrom

As Pastor of Bethany Community Church in Seattle, Richard teaches with vision of "making the invisible God visible" by calling people to acts of service and blessing. It's working, as a wilderness ministry, homeless shelter, and community meals that serve those living on the margins are all pieces of Bethany's life. "We're being the presence of Christ" he says, "and inviting everyone to join the adventure." Many have, making Bethany one of the fastest growing churches in America in 2009 according to Outreach Magazine.

  • Jim Abbott

    Agree 100%. Alice and I have been at it for more than 30 years now; one step at a time. Our two are 27 and 29 and we have the good fortune of having them in Seattle living near Greenlake. If we have one regret it is that we can’t do it all over again. As we prepare to sell the home we have all lived in for 25 years, there are some very sad moments. But this house needs a young family to occupy it and we need to live simply; meaning way less square footage.

    Perhaps another challenge is ahead. As I shift careers for the second time in my life and move away from commercial construction, I have received an interesting and exciting offer. Our daughter suggests that just maybe I would like to return to the practice of law after some 22 years away (I need a lot more practice!) and be “Of cousel” to her law firm. WOW!! I practiced law with my dad for almost 15 years. The thought of maybe practicing with our daughter is almost overwhelming. Everything I know predates 1988!

    So keep the faith. When your daughter returns in two years, she just might want to join the “family business.”

    I looked at the photos. You are very blessed, but you need to lose the shorts.

  • Jim Abbott

    Agree 100%. Alice and I have been at it for more than 30 years now; one step at a time. Our two are 27 and 29 and we have the good fortune of having them in Seattle living near Greenlake. If we have one regret it is that we can’t do it all over again. As we prepare to sell the home we have all lived in for 25 years, there are some very sad moments. But this house needs a young family to occupy it and we need to live simply; meaning way less square footage.

    Perhaps another challenge is ahead. As I shift careers for the second time in my life and move away from commercial construction, I have received an interesting and exciting offer. Our daughter suggests that just maybe I would like to return to the practice of law after some 22 years away (I need a lot more practice!) and be “Of cousel” to her law firm. WOW!! I practiced law with my dad for almost 15 years. The thought of maybe practicing with our daughter is almost overwhelming. Everything I know predates 1988!

    So keep the faith. When your daughter returns in two years, she just might want to join the “family business.”

    I looked at the photos. You are very blessed, but you need to lose the shorts.

  • http://mobileintensiveprayerunit.blogspot.com Prayingmedic

    I love your perspective as expressed in this message. You are an inspiration.
    Thanks!

  • http://mobileintensiveprayerunit.blogspot.com Prayingmedic

    I love your perspective as expressed in this message. You are an inspiration.
    Thanks!

  • sarah j

    Although I appreciate much about this particular post, a good deal of it serious and profound, I confess my favorite part is the fact that everyone in your family smiles with wide open mouths.

    It must be contagious. :]

  • sarah j

    Although I appreciate much about this particular post, a good deal of it serious and profound, I confess my favorite part is the fact that everyone in your family smiles with wide open mouths.

    It must be contagious. :]


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