A Family Story

8 Jun

In just a few short days my cousin Christine is coming to visit from California. I simply cannot wait!!

Christine and I first got to know each other when I was just 22 years old. My parents and I travelled to San Francisco to stay with her family. Our mothers were very close friends when they were growing up and we were all looking forward to this family reunion. I think it was sometime in the middle of our vacation where Christine and I both discovered that we had something very important in common…we both shared a deep love for God and were striving to live a life that honoured Him as Saviour and Lord. We instantly formed a very special bond and it was difficult to imagine leaving her behind and going back to living so far away from each other.

From that point on we committed to writing emails reguarly. Every single week, we sent each other lengthy emails summarizing just about every detail of our lives.  I used to get so excited when I would open up my inbox and find an email from her. The first thing I would do was scroll down to make sure it was a long email (and they always were). We wrote about everything! Back and forth the emails went…and the relationship just kept growing stronger.

It was in these emails that I revealed to her my growing affection for Shady. I told her we had decided to begin a relationship together. It was there that she too told me about her growing relationship with the man who is now her husband. We stood beside each other at our weddings, and exchanged numerous phone calls to share good news and bad. Perhaps most exciting was when I told Christine we were expecting a little Amanda into our lives. I could always count on Christine giving me the most genuine and most heartfelt excited responses.

When I go back over the emails we have exchanged, I am amazed. I feel as though our last 12 years have been captured through our letters. Sometimes I think I should have them published as a memoir of our friendship. Other times I think “Am I crazy, I don’t want people reading these emails!!”

I have some really fun memories that I look back on and smile.  I remember the time that our families were in Mexico together, and we spent who knows how long in the pool choreographing our own synchronized swimming routine (something neither of us know anything about).  I also look back with fondness on the week before my wedding, when Christine took several (perhaps more than several) photos of me practising my wedding smile. Who knows what my wedding pictures would have looked like if it wasn’t for her patience! One particular time that Christine was here, I had written her a lengthy letter for her to read on the airplane. I pretty much poured out my heart to her in the letter. Unfortunately in the sadness of saying goodbye at the gate, I completely forgot to give it to her. I was devastated. Thankfully there was a kind gentlemen who offered to give her the letter when he saw her on the airplane. I was so happy he was willing to help out. The next day when she arrived, I asked her what she thought of the letter. “What letter?” she asked.

He never gave it to her!!!

By the way, if you are that man, and you are reading this post, I accept online apologies!

I’ve learned a lot from this special relationship that God has brought into my life. I’ve learned that deep friendships require time and committment. Christine and I have never had the luxury of living closer to each other and sharing our daily lives together…so in order to maintain our closeness we have had to make a constant effort to keep in touch. I’ve also learned that friendship with family members is so valuable. It’s wonderful to know that through our friendship we are continuing a family tradition. It’s wonderful to have the shared stories of our mothers to build our growing relationship on. I’ve also learned that differences really do make a friendship more interesting. Although we have so much in common (Shady seems to think that we even talk the same), we are also quite different….and our short visits to see each other allows us a window into each other’s lives; an opportunity to learn from how the other one lives.

I’m so excited to see Christine. I’m so excited to have her in my home, to sit on the couch and share minute details of our lives together. To talk about all the ways that God is at work in our lives. To see her hold my daughter for the very first time. To hear her voice rather than simply reading it on the screen. The only thing I’m not looking forward to is the day she’ll have to go home.

How about you? Are there any special relationships that you have in your life that have truly been a blessing? How has God used these friendships to shape and mold you?

Thank God for the gift of family and friends!

Proverbs 18:24 “There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”

3 Responses to “A Family Story”

  1. Teens Hogue June 8, 2012 at 10:11 AM #

    When life gets busy and there’s not always time to catch up or stay in touch. I have those friends that when you call , you just pick up where you left off. That is truly amazing to me too! Love Dina!!

  2. Christine June 9, 2012 at 7:31 PM #

    Dina, I LOVED reading this beautifully written post. I couldn’t stop smiling the whole way through! You’re an amazing cousin and friend and such a blessing in my life. I can’t wait to see you in just a few days!!!

  3. Samia June 15, 2012 at 12:02 PM #

    Dina, your words were heartfelt, especially since it reminded me of the relationship and closeness between your mother and me. It is a relationship similar to that of sisters and it lasts forever despite being miles apart. I hope that you and Christine continue keeping up this beautiful connection with each other.

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