by Ruth DuCharme

I missed National Sibling Day. As a matter of fact, I didn't know that there was such a thing as National Sibling Day, but it turns out that there is such an occasion. April 10 has been declared as the day to honor the relationship between siblings. While it is not a federally recognized holiday, it seems that 44 governors have issued official proclamations to recognize Sibling Day in their states.


I am the fourth of five children. My sibling pack consists of four girls and one boy (don't feel sorry for him). The firstborn of our pack is Cindy. Cindy is a gifted minister and musician who we look up to with respect and admiration. She has been a great role model to me. Nancy comes next in the lineup. She has always been the one to nurture us and to offer us comfort and support. She shares her beautiful spirit with her students in the classroom and with her own children and grandchildren. Jim - known to us as Jimbo - is the only boy, stuck in the middle of four sisters. He is always our protector and a source of laughter for this brood of sisters. Jim is a man of strong faith and is ever loyal to his family. I fall next in the birth order followed by Amy, the baby of the family. Amy is not only my sister, she was my first friend. The one who kept my secrets and shared her clothes. Amy is full of life and love - gifts that she shares with her kindergarten students every day.


The sibling relationship is unique. Jeffrey Kluger says that "siblings are the only relatives, and perhaps the only people you'll ever know, who are with you through the entire arc of life." For some, that arc is interrupted or broken by distance, illness, death, and other life situations. For others, family closeness is one of the greatest blessings of life.


My siblings and the arc we share are true blessings to me. While we don't see each other as often as we would like, our bond is strong. I am convinced that our bond isn't an accident. It exists because we make it a priority and resolve to stay connected. Our memories bind us. Our love and respect for our parents ground us. Our joy and laughter at times of reunion draw us back together time and again. That's how it goes with this pack of siblings.


In my prayers at worship and during my words of welcome, I often refer to you as my sisters and brothers in Christ. I do that because of the bond we share. We love each other. We aggravate each other. We forgive each other. And we work together to do ministry in this place. I look forward to the times when we come together for worship and fellowship. I turn to you for comfort and encouragement. I miss you when we are apart. We are family, and that's how it goes with this pack of siblings.