Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Great Great Uncle John

To my son Tommy,

I don't think you have had the opportunity to meet your Great Great Uncle John yet. You would know him if you saw him, because he looks just like pretty much all us Downey men do or will, complete with white beard and funny hat. Not sure how hat choice has found a genetic mutation in the Downey genes, but judging by our own hat choice, we know it is there. Just to be certain, Uncle John is the one on the left of the picture above visiting his brother (your Great Grandpa Leo) on Christmas day, which happens to be your great grandpa's birthday as well. Our cousin Maria (Uncle John's daughter) brought him down from Gettysburg. She was snapping the picture so she wasn't in that one. And of course you recognize your Nana Jeanne.

Anyways, Uncle John went into the hospital last night with twinges of pain in his chest. Maria says he had a good and restful night once admitted, but it was better to be safe. He will undergo some stress tests and such but she thinks they will send him home today barring any surprising results. We will add him to our prayer list.

It is a funny thing about family. We don't see Uncle John and Maria often. They only live maybe forty minutes up the road from your grandparent's house but sometimes those forty minutes can seem like a three day trek, what with work and life and all the complications we fill it with. However neither the distance nor the time between visits means much when it comes to family. If they need our prayers, or our help, or just a shoulder to lean on, we will be there. It doesn't matter that our plate is full. There is always room for family.

Take, for example, dinner at the Downeys' this past month. One of my greatest memories of this year will be fitting a ton of Downeys around the dinner table. That table is supposed to hold six max. This Christmas season, we often fit ten. And if more would come, we would fit more, somehow. You see the love of family is one of those amazing things in the world that defies the laws of physics. Love can ignore time between visits, as if time didn't exist. It can travel faster than the speed of light, as it can instantly be felt a hundred miles away. And love can expand and expand by ten sizes or more, to cover everyone in a blanket of comfort and compassion.

Sincerely with love from your dad,

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