I like books. No big shocker there. I’m a librarian. But I almost equally like television, movies, music, and any kind of game that does not look like a sport. As an only child, I learned to love entertainment, and I find rest and peace in solitary activities. I used to beg my parents not to let me go to sleepovers. Yet, as an adult, I began to find joy and fulfillment in group activities such as gaming, concerts, and travel. I often seek these activities and plan my whole year around them, saving vacation time and money to journey with my love to see our favorite musicians play live, join incredible fellowship at the Wild Goose Festival, or sail around the British Virgin Islands with my family.
As I’ve grown older, I have also developed a deeper appreciation for family. My parents are the best. They are my best friends and have loved me unconditionally in a way that enabled me to understand what it means for God to do the same and even more so. I experienced the death of many close family members while growing up, including my baby sister, my aunt, both of my grandfathers, and my grandmother. Other family members scattered to be seen once in 20 years if that. I have fond memories of family gatherings as a child and even living in a three-generation household with my devoted United Methodist grandparents, Rick and Lee Commander. But from age 16, it was just me and my parents, and I learned so much about the value of unending love and support. I changed so much about what I wanted to do and where I wanted to be and even who I wanted to be, but I could always count on my parents to be there for me, and I still can.
When I married my best friend ten years later, our wedding was filled his large extended family. They have made me one of their own, and gave me a new way to appreciate the joys of family. We enjoy large and frequent gatherings for Sunday lunch, beach trips, weekend visits, and shared holidays. Intimidating to this introvert at first, I have come to look forward to these special times shared with four generations of diverse people who all get along, choosing to celebrate our commonalities and often seeking to understand our differences. My husband and I are expecting our first child in July, and I am excited to teach her all that I have learned about enjoying life, living in community, and most of all, loving God and one another.