|Hot weather inland = cloudy cool at the beach|
Here we are on the private beach at my aunt and uncle's house:
Lucky for the gentlemen in my cousins' lives, they all look like super models. And even luckier for the gentlemen in my cousins' lives, they have the loveliest, most vivacious souls.
There are 23 of us cousins on my dad's side, and we're scattered up and down the coast. Five of us gals, however, live within two hours of each other. So we took advantage of our geographical proximity and met halfway in Laguna Beach.
My cousin, B, brought her darling son.
He has the cutest little nose, the longest little eyelashes, and the sweetest little disposition.
I had to refrain from squeezing and nuzzling him every 30 seconds or so.
There's something wonderfully mysterious about the cousin connection. You can live in different cities or states, have grown up with limited interactions, go over a year without seeing each other, and yet still just get each other when you reunite.
You can spill your guts about all the dark, hard stuff in your life; you can dance without inhibition, sing at the top of your lungs, and laugh together over the stuff that no one else really thinks is funny.
I feel a wonderful sense of belonging when I'm with my cousins. It's not just that we feel safe to share the deep stuff, and understand nuances and body language that non-Jacksons might not understand. We also share a number of the same quirks.
For example, I have this thing about taking pictures of feet. I love it. There's something about documenting an adventure from my feet's perspective that tickles me. Some of my friends think it is hilariously ridiculous, and like to poke fun at my affinity for feet-documenting.
So you can imagine how thrilled I was yesterday when a cousin whom I haven't seen in close to two years said,
"Okay girls, I have this thing about taking pictures of feet. I just love it. Do you mind?"
*Mental blackflip, triple spin, cartwheel, victorious arm raise.*
I mean no! Of course I don't mind!
I also have this thing with the word "glorious." I try to be careful about not over-using it, but when God hands me something beautifully delightful, "glorious" is the best way I can think of to describe it.
The word has become one of my trademarks.
"Was that workout glorious?" my college teammates used to tease.
"Isn't it a glorious day?" my friends like ask me with a knowing smile.
This morning I get a text from my cousin thanking me for the pictures I texted her of our time together. "Have a glorious Sunday!" she says.
A few minutes later I'm texting with a different cousin about the technique she used to curl her hair when I saw her yesterday. Our conversation about curls turns to talk of dry shampoo. My cousin tells me she loves the stuff, and I explain I use corn starch as a sort of dry shampoo because, boy, it cuts back on the number of times I have to wash my hair each week.
"Isn't it glorious?!" my cousin responds.
Yes, I say. It's glorious.
Glorious to use dry shampoo, glorious to have fellow feet documenters, glorious to be a Jackson.
And I'm reminded what a powerful bond blood is. It can connect people with the the most disparate lifestyles, unite people scattered across the world, be responsible for the funniest shared quirks, make deep conversations natural and necessary, make silly jokes even funnier, put hearts at ease, cultivate deepest loyalty, and make sacrifice a no-brainer.
It's an amazing thing, blood.
In middle school, I remember singing about how Jesus' blood covered me, and realizing how weird it was to be singing about blood. Blood-talk isn't terribly common in Western culture. Being covered in it is not the average Joe's idea of a desirable experience.
But when I hang out with my cousins, I get it. I get how wildly, wonderfully crazy it is that God wants to mark us — bind us to himself— as his children by covering us in his blood. I get how off-the-hook fantastic it is that God wants to plant his seed in us, so that we start to look like him, act like him, get him.
I get why Jesus said you will find your truest self and experince your fullest life if you are willing to follow him and let him cover you in his blood.
The opportunity to be bound to Christ, grafted into the family of God, and re-created into the image of the good and perfect Father.
It's glorious, is what it is. Absolutely, wildly glorious.
© by scj