Family Vacations: A Time for Unity

Article excerpt

THERE is a special lake cradled among the green hills of southern New Hampshire where blueberries flourish along the banks and loons call to one another at night. Most tourists on their way to the mountains in the north never notice this out-of-the-way place. But for seven summers my family found a beautiful refuge there. Up to sixteen of us at a time gathered to swim, water-ski, and canoe. After hearing me tell of these times of fun, my friends would sometimes ask, "How does your family do it? Don't you ever fight or get annoyed with each other during those two weeks?" I always answered no, and was a bit puzzled by the question. The harmony my family expressed seemed so natural to me. Sure, with five, sometimes seven youngsters, meals were noisy and hectic. But I can't remember any yelling, tears, or hurtful feuding. The few disagreements that arose were resolved quickly. Thinking back, I can see how my parents and the other adults tried to keep things simple, delegate responsibilities, and keep a sense of humor. But they did something even more important, as well. They worked to maintain an atmosphere of Christian love and respect. As Christian Scientists, we were unified in our vision of who was really the head of the family and governing our lives: God, our heavenly Father. God is wholly good and has created man in His image and likeness. This likeness is not found in sinful, feuding, or irritated behavior, but in qualities such as forgiveness, mercy, compassion, and unselfishness. The pure likeness of God --the spiritual expression of all these qualities--is what really constitutes the identity of every person. Christ Jesus refers to the man of God's creating when he says in the Gospel of Matthew, "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect" (5:48). …