“My mother died in 2005 and since that time it seems my siblings can’t get along with each other. My father is still with us and I want us to become close again but I don’t know what else to do.” Joanna was beginning to get emotional.

Here we were on the street: a little 4’8″ bald headed white guy dressed funny and a 5’10” heavy-set black woman hugging each other as cars whizzed by and people looked on. Neither one of us cared a lick. I knew Christ, she knew Christ but more importantly…He knows us.

I love to pray for people as I walk; so many people and so many different issues. Some ask for healing of their grandpa from cancer, others ask for a touch of God upon their handicapped child. I always feel a twinge of sadness in my heart and a certain sense of gratitude as I quietly thank God that those problems aren’t afflicting my family.

This prayer request was different though. This one touched me and troubled me. It touched me because my own family is fragmented. It troubled me because family divisiveness is avoidable and correctable. Conflict in the family is almost always a matter of pride. We don’t understand each other and we’re too proud to ask for clarification. We have expectations that are never expressed and yet when they’re not met…we’re hurt. We have unrealistic views of what a family should look like and how “it” should act.

Friends are people we choose to have in our life. Family are people who are involved in our life through adoption, birth or marriage. Once you’re family…you’re family forever. Surely, we can put aside our pride for a moment and get along to share a meal or a holiday. Surely, we can pray that God bless our family (even the ones who push our buttons) with His best. If we can’t stand to be with “that woman” for an hour, surely we could be nice for twenty minutes and casually her presence.

God whispered to me as I walked today, “Nick, make an effort to be your best, regardless of response. Time is fleeting and life is precious.”