Last spring and summer I had to put some work back into the Rectory lawns. I had something called grubs in the front lawn that pretty much decimated the lawn. In the back, things were a little better but I have developed something back there called crabgrass. I did not know a lot about crabgrass so I asked the "Weed-man" about the stubborn stuff. What should I use to get rid of it? "Forget it!" was the swift response that I got. "There is no way to rid yourself of crabgrass. It is green, it does not look bad if you look after it and keep it cut." So I resigned to the idea that crabgrass was permanent part of my life. I watered it along with the rest of the lawn and I cut it regularly and I can say that he was right. It has stayed and will stay forever and it may stick out a little – but in reality it is stronger than the regular grass. When the rest of the grass was turning brown, the crabgrass was still green and standing tall.

Why is Kevin writing about crab grass on day 19 of Lent? Well I read a quote Charles Schultz today that got me thinking all about it. "Big sisters," he says, "are the crabgrass in the lawn of life." Now that is pretty good. I have two sisters and I am not sure if either one really wants to be compared with a grass, especially one that a lot of people try to get out of their lawns. I personally think it is a good thing that our sisters are like crabgrass. I am told that Sister Elaine has made a surprise visit to NL from Alberta today. While she has been living out there now for a few months and people back east were thinking she was ‘gone away,’ she pops up like a tuft of crabgrass. And I can assure you that everyone there was delighted to see her. I would love to have been there myself to look out and say, "that crabgrass keeps coming back. Thank God!"

Sister Helen is boarding a plane with her husband Gary as I write this blog. Where is she headed? HERE! Like the crabgrass I was examining when raking my lawn the other day, she is planning on popping up in my backyard – and I could not be happier. Helen and Gary are, among other things, great fun and will be a lot of fun to have around. I have four brothers and two sisters. All my brothers have made it here, this will be the first sister to make it and Helen has been threatening to make this visit for 10 years. Today is a big day indeed.

Helen has been very close to me over the years and has provided a listening ear when I needed one. Lady Mary Montague said, "There can be no situation in life in which the conversation of my dear sister will not administer some comfort to me." I have found that to be very true. Helen is a comforting presence for me and always a strong compass on foggy days. Now I get to have her with me from morning to night and that is a great gift indeed.

Family is really important. Mine, is a big family and despite our varied lives and interest we are close. Helen’s husband Gary is ‘the Godfather’ – to me at least. My other sister Elaine married ‘the other Godfather’ Jack. I was fortunate to be born when my sisters were 19 and 20 years old and had by then settled on men. To that end Gary and Jack have been around forever for me. That is true of Clara as well. My oldest brother was 21 when I was born and he had already started his family. There has not been a time when they have not been family for me. My other siblings all married great people as well and I have been fortunate to have a family that has loved and cared for me when I was sometimes hard to love and care for.

I guess the moral of this rambling today is rooted in gratitude. Helen and Gary’s visit coupled with daily Lenten prayer discipline has me realizing that sometimes we take our families for granted. I encourage us all to take time this week to thank our siblings, our parents, our in-laws etc and to express to them in some small way how much they mean to us.

So to Mom and Dad

 

And to James and Clara and:

  • Roger and Debbie (Lauren and Leanne)
  • Sherrie and Sheldon (Vanessa and Brent)
  • Angie and Rob (Samantha)

And to Helen and Gary and:

  • Gary and Annette (Leah, Becky and Andrea)
  • Jennifer and Chad (Joy)

And to Elaine and Jack and:

  • John and Sandra (William and Peter)
  • Jason and Kristen (Gabrielle)

And to Lloyd and Jackie and:

  • Christopher and Jennifer (Tyler and Hannah)
  • Adam and Lisa (Ryan and Brooklyn)

And to Robert and Jo-Anne and:

  • Jessica

And to Darryl and Karen and:

  • Matthew
  • Sarah

Please know that today I am thinking of all of you and I am grateful that I was born into this family.

Now it’s off to be ready for a visit from my crabgrass sister.