Ministerial Spouses Association
I’m not a quilter, but I am fortunate to belong to a family who has two master quilters. I have learned much about quilts from them, and I realize one of the things which makes quilts beautiful is the selection of colors. A quilt begins with the selection of both light and dark colors. This is much like creating memories in a family — there must be memories tied to joyous and sad times. The holiday season provides families, especially pastoral families, with opportunities to create memories in their quilt of traditions — an heirloom to pass down to future generations.
Our society today seeks to convince us that memories can only be created with an outpouring of funds. We see the commercials for a week at a resort or a cruiseship or... The reality is few families have the resources for such activities, and they are usually concepts in the pastoral family budget. Memories, like stitches in a quilt, can be created with thought, and they do not have to be pricey! One of the most valuable stitches in the family memory quilt can be time. The intentional gift of time in the pastoral home means far more to its members than gifts money can buy. The holidays seem to increase the "musts" of the pastoral family: additional church services, more company and more visits to make! How does the pastoral family make certain they are family?
Memories are created because there is a plan! When we consider the Thanksgiving holiday, for instance, memories are created with food as the focal point. I remember teaching a college class; and as we talked about traditions, my students began to list what would be on the menu for the meal. They associated their memories with the food and the time spent around the table sharing stories and laughter. The students’ greatest appreciation was the opportunity to sit and share across generations and to have the time to do so.
Pastoral families have to be cautious with being so busy taking care of the needs of others that they fail to family themselves! Holidays are the time when it is important to give the gift of intentional time for the members of their family. Meals should be times to enjoy one another and share the joy of being together. Many of the deep, spiritual concepts preached from the pulpit are applied in the home. If the time and intention is not taken to create memories in the pastoral home, our children have no real foundation for their launch into the world. Scripture reminds us in Psalms 127:1: ”If God doesn’t build the house, the builders only build shacks” (The Message).
Creating memories takes as much thought as making a quilt. Thought goes into the selection of the fabrics and thread long before the completion of the quilt. Pastoral families who want to have memories of their time together have to make certain they are providing the materials, time and intention to create their memories.
Wilma Kirk Lee, MSW, LCSW, writes from the parsonage in Houston, Texas. She is the executive director of the Center for Family Wholeness. She has been a pastoral spouse for 46 years and the mother of two adult daughters, and "Go-Go" to three grandchildren.