Dear Church Family,

I remember one morning when I and two of my brothers were ready for school and decided to ride our bikes while we waited for my mom to take us to school. Our driveway was fairly long with a turn in the middle. If you started at the gate at the top of the drive, it was about 125 feet to the turn. If you went straight at the turn, you would cross part of the yard, go through a gate into a pasture, and in about 200 feet was a creek. We had set an old barn door out in the pasture on some concrete blocks and used it as a ramp to jump our bikes which was what we were doing that morning. It was fun; it was harmless; and we were just killing time.

After one particular run down the driveway, we all ended up by the creek bank (a fairly steep grade), which was followed by about 10 feet of flat earth and then a small creek. We were sitting on our bikes looking at this when my older brother, Jonathan, said, “I think I can ride across that creek without getting my feet wet.”

At our age, this was the equivalent of , “Hold my salad and watch this.” My younger brother, Chuck, and I both cheered him on.

Up the driveway Jonathan went. We stayed by the creek bank to watch this masterful act of skilled riding. Then down he came.

He shot down the driveway, sailed over a little hump at the gate to the pasture, flew off the jump we had set up and then, pedaling furiously, went down the bank. This is where things got exciting. The 10 feet of flat earth was actually mud…soft mud like you might imagine quick sand to be. It had a bottom, but the bottom was about 16 inches deep (about the same as his tire’s height). He hit the mud and his bike promptly sank over the forks on his front tire; stopping suddenly. Over the handle bars he went, arms outstretched. His hands and arms hit first, sinking to his shoulders, followed by rapid succession of his face, which became almost buried. He managed to get his knees under him, sat up, removed his glasses and looked toward us; maybe for sympathy?

Chuck and I had none. The outline from his glasses made him look exactly like a raccoon, not to mention the rest of him that was covered in muck. We were laughing so hard we couldn’t even ride our bikes as we followed him back up the hill, onto the driveway, and up to the house. As we came through the gate by the driveway, Jonathan covered in mud from head to toe, guess who walked out ready to take us to school? Yup, our momma. She reached orbit in about .03 seconds. Poor Jonathan had to strip down and be hosed with water straight from the well (a balmy 52 degrees in southern Iowa) and then get redressed for school, all the while listening to a less-than-impressed mom.

What’s the point to this story? Living as a family can get messy, but as long as we don’t take ourselves too seriously, we can have a lot of fun and enjoy some laughs along the way. We may have to clean up a few messes; we may make some mistakes and learn from other’s mistakes; but along the way, memories will be made and the family bond cemented. That’s the joy of family. That’s the joy of being in a church family.

I love you all and I’m glad you’re my family (even when you laugh at me)!

Pastor Daniel