“You can pick your friends, but you can’t pick your family.”
As I become older and perhaps wiser, I have come to realize that spending time with family is one of my favorite pastimes. You see, Caren and I have three delightful daughters. The apple does not fall far from the tree, they say, and we see our personalities in each of them. I feel honored that these three American-born girls call me Dad. They call me other things too, but that’s another story …
Immigrants and their U.S.-born children now number approximately 86.4 million people, or 27 percent of the overall U.S. population, according to a national survey, taken in 2017.
One of the greatest blessings we have is our immediate family. I realize this more as an immigrant, living in the U.S. far from the rest of my extended family in South Africa. This situation is no different for the refugee and immigrant families we serve. Their families, usually, still live abroad. Visiting home is equally infrequent, so we have to nurture friends, and build new families state-side.
As believers in Jesus, we have a family who are related spiritually because of our common faith. This family includes mature men and women who love God and each other. Living in community, is to love one another, as hard as that may be at times. 1 Thessalonians offers some ageless advice in this regard:
- Be at peace with everyone
- Strive to do what is good for others
- Encourage the disheartened, help the poor, be patient with everyone
So, even if we did not pick our family members, we can still find ways to love them, even when they may not deserve it. We can also add to our families, those that are like-minded, and who we can do life together with us.
For our upcoming blog posts, we will start to feature some of the families we serve, as part of an ongoing series, to learn more about their U.S. experiences living in Charlotte, and their children in our programs.
September 24, 2018