This week, my pastor in the States encouraged our congregation to publicly acknowledge a special person in their life. He calls it the gratitude challenge.
After some thought, I have decided to acknowledge my Uncle Dan and Aunt Dani. They are an incredible blessing to my entire family, and I treasure them. They obviously care deeply for their friends and family, expressing their love in many practical ways like making meals at holiday time, making special trips to visit their nieces and nephews, and going out of their way to understand and relate to others. In the midst of ongoing family drama, they stay very cool and objective. They are beautifully unpretentious and very wise.
As a kid, I loved seeing them when we would go to Grandpa and Grandma’s house. They live just down the road, but when we were in town, they generously spent their time with us at Grandma and Grandpa’s house. We’ve spent many enjoyable hours discussing books, movies, and politics in the living room, and nearly as long around the dining room table over one of Aunt Dani’s fabulous lasagnas or corn casseroles. I always felt so wonderfully grown up when Aunt Dani would invite me to join her on a walk down the lane in the afternoon, and I loved it when Uncle Dan would take me for a ride on his motorcycle or teach me how to shoot one of his guns. I still warmly remember his compliment on my “sharp-shooting” when I was twelve. “You’re a regular Annie Oakley!” he said. 🙂
Now that I’m a bit older, I see and appreciate them through different lenses. Uncle Dan is absolutely gold. He is very loyal, and I get the feeling that he would do anything for a friend. He quietly serves others and maintains good friendships with the men at church. He loves hunting and the history channel and even watches chick flicks with his wife- although he draws the line at musicals. He has a strong but very kind spirit, and it brings me joy to spend time with him.
Aunt Dani is an avid reader and lover of cats. She has a knack of recognizing a need and a generous heart that gives of herself. I have treasured the shopping trips, Saturday morning runs to the farmer’s market, and stops at the coffee shop with Aunt Dani. Spending time with her is so peaceful, and she often says things that leave me thinking- like our last coffee date, when she said, “I’m realizing that I need to learn to see people from the inside.” Ponder that.
They have a very gentle faith and a steady stride. In many ways, they exemplify love.
So, God, thank you for my Uncle Dan and Aunt Dani.