We come from a family of eight brothers, daughters of five of those brothers.
One of us is the Youngest Child of the Oldest Brother
One of us is the Oldest Child of the Youngest Brother
The Tallest of us is the Daughter of the Tallest Brother.
And the Two of us who are Almost Twins are the Daughters of The Twin Brothers
We share so much commonality.
-Men we love who are so, well, manly.
-Our bodies are changing on us. We have aches and pains that remind us that the years have passed while we weren’t watching. There are troublesome joints, an ankle brace, and three new knees among us. And we have Gloria, whose healthy, fit example reminds us that we should have done differently, that we could have done differently — if only we WOULD have.
-Kids and grandkids, nieces and nephew, in-laws and family members that we love intensely and with intentional involvement in their lives. We want to make a difference in the lives of the little people that God has brought into our lives, and we engage with, and bless, and sacrifice for them. Oh, Lord Jesus, how very much we love these precious gifts in each of our lives.
But the common thing that brought us together this week for two unbelievably golden days in Williamsburg, VA, was our age. Yepper! Our age. All five of us turned or will turn 60 years old within less than ten months of each other. We had to celebrate.
And memories! Ah, the memories.
-Of fathers who loved us. Daddies and a Papa who loved Jesus and their families and the church with unfailing loyalty and life commitments and service that spoke LIFE to not only their own lives, but ours, as well. Their example has made the way HOME so plain to us.
-Of happy Childhood memories that make us laugh and make us cry and cause us to sit quiet with faraway looks in our eyes as we realize, humbly and gratefully, with pensive wonder, how very much we’ve been blessed.
We are five cousins. We’ve rediscovered our friendship, our common life experiences, our ROOTS.
We looked at the shirts of our fathers, and the other beloved uncles, touched the fabric that once touched our father’s skin. I smelled long and deeply to see if the smell of my Daddy was there, but it was freshly laundered and there was no remnants of the smell that once spoke Mark Yoder to me.
But the fabric! Woven fabric, worn thin, with a hint of the pastel green he so often wore. I tore out the stitches and laid it flat, and it laid flat upon my heart, and I wanted to use it to wipe my tears.
Because of the eight brothers, my Daddy was THE BEST.