Successful Families Strive for No Empty Chairs
"God intended the family to be eternal. May he bless us to strengthen our homes and the lives of each family member so that in due time we can report to our Heavenly Father in His celestial home that we are all there - father, mother, sister, brother, all who hold each other dear. Each chair is filled. We are all back home."
Ezra Taft Benson
"No empty chairs" was a de facto motto for our family growing up. It rings true today with my own family. Whenever I think of it, I picture a family around a dining room table - all present and accounted for.
My family is by no means perfect - now or when I was growing up. That being said, we love each other a lot and do our best to treat each other well and love the Lord. I know several families who are the same way. We trust in God to teach us, guide us, and make up for our shortcomings.
A Legacy of Love
Ezra Taft Benson was the 13th prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He believed strongly in happy homes with a father and mother presiding in love, being guided by the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I was able to see his family in action many times. My grandfather was his son. I can honestly say my grandfather was one of the most Christ-like people I will ever meet. For several years we would gather as one huge extended family of aunts, uncles, and cousins and play and laugh together for a day or two once every six months. It lasted until Great-Grandpa died. Then we started to meet with our more immediate families and left the extended family for less frequent gatherings. But the legacy of strong homes my great-grandparents left has stayed with many of us as we have grown and raised the next generation.
Find Strength in the Diligence of God
If you read the quote above and thought, "My family will have some empty chairs in the eternities," then take heart in this statement by James E. Faust. (Click the link to read the entire wonderful talk.) It brings solace to me because I have a brother who has chosen a path away from the Gospel for the last 10 years. We love him and pray he will come back. His chair is always waiting for him.
"To those brokenhearted parents who have been righteous, diligent, and prayerful in the teaching of their disobedient children, we say to you, the Good Shepherd is watching over them. God knows and understands your deep sorrow. There is hope. Take comfort in the words of Jeremiah, 'Thy work shall be rewarded' and your children can 'come again from the land of the enemy.'"
James E. Faust
Focus on the Good
My wonderful sister-in-law put a video together celebrating some happy moments from our family life for our last family reunion. I would love to share it with you. I hope it makes you smile. It makes me smile every time I watch it. Sometimes I cry, too. She brought out the best in us, and sometimes it's nice to be reminded. You know? I know it took her many days to put this together, and I think her labor of love is a testament to the beauty of her soul. I hope it helps you think of all the ways your family is wonderful, too.
Have a blessed week!
The chair picture comes from deemac1 on morguefile.com.