Our home has a different feel to it. Our normal household of fifteen has been reduced to only eleven for the next few days. Two of the children are staying with their other grandparents and Andrew and Christine are away for a much deserved adventure for a couple of days. That leaves us with four children to care for. So far things have gone amazingly well. The little one went down for a nap without a bit of resistance and the younger boys took naps without fussing too. That left just one little boy who was completely engrossed in Legos and having a wonderful time not having to share with anyone!
It’s amazing to me how the chemistry of a household feels so different when just one or a few are missing. You’d think that with this many people we wouldn’t even notice their absence but it’s not true.
We have already formed a family bond that is strong. It has always been strong, but putting all of us in the same house has already caused growth and a sense of strength that only comes as the fibers of family become even more firmly braided together. We feel it when even one is missing.
With such a big family, we often have to resort to a head count to make sure we have everyone when we are out somewhere. When we get into the van it’s common to hear Andrew doing a roll call with each child responding, even tiny Gwendallyn who proudly answers “Yeah!” when she hears her name. But even before a count is done, you can sometimes just feel that someone is missing. There is a disruption in the chemistry if you will. And sure enough, when you do take attendance, you find someone indeed is missing. Fortunately, it’s usually an adult and not a child!
It makes me think of the parable of the lost sheep in Luke 15. The story says that if the shepherd loses one sheep he leaves the ninety-nine and goes to look for the one. If he had ninety-nine sheep would he count each one before he knows if one is missing or does he just have a feeling everyone isn’t accounted for? Does he just know the chemistry of the flock isn’t right?
I think He just knows, like we know when we do our head count. We can feel it. So can He. Each sheep is that important that their absence is immediately felt. He takes His title of shepherd very seriously. Even to the point of dying in order to bring His sheep to safety. It’s more than my little brain can comprehend.
John 10:14-15 “I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.