My family used to vacation in Summerset, KY every year at Lake Cumberland. First, we camped there. Then, we had a houseboat. When we went to the lake for a longer period of time (like a week or so) we would take the houseboat out and tie it up in a cove. One rope to each shore would “suspend” the boat out in the middle of the cove.
I remember one time when we were out skiing and running to the dock, we returned to the houseboat because a storm was brewing. The winds were blowing pretty good, the water was getting choppy, and we returned to the houseboat just in time to watch a tree stump slide down the hill and into the water. It was the tree stump connected to the houseboat!
Dad immediately went into Merchant Marines leadership mode, everyone did their part, and we “saved the ship” with some crazy antics and (after it was all over) a lot of laughter. As a little boy, though, the real hero of the day was my mom. A boat cushion blew off the boat and out into the water. It was being swept back deeper into the cove where we could get it later, but I didn’t understand that. I just knew the cushion was blowing away. So, mom (already in her swimsuit) put on a life belt, dove in the water, swam over to the cushion and brought it back. She saved the day! What a day it was.
We have a lot of good memories from Lake Cumberland. Adventures usually involved God showing-off through nature, like the storm in the story I just shared. Sometimes the memories were of hard work, like grinding, sealing, and painting the steel hull of the boat. Sometimes, though, the memories were not the best. I can remember plenty of “discussions” between different family members at different times through the years. I watched as marriages started, marriages struggled, and marriages ended on those vacations. I watched as different family members got along, didn’t get along, talked, yelled, gave the silent treatment, and did everything else in between.
Through it all, though, we are still family. This is what I like to remember. I think this is what God likes us to remember, too. There is a reason Paul says, “The entire law is summed up in a single command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’” (Galatians 5:14 [NIV84]). In all the craziness, the neighbor we first learn to love is our family.