Across the board, my uncles are some of my favorite people. I have 4 of them. 2 are my mom’s brothers. 2 are my dad’s brothers. They are each incredibly different. And somehow I see traces of myself in each one of them. Considering that 2 of them have lived in other states my entire life, I am even more amazed at how genes can pass along through the family.
My senior picture looks strikingly similar to my uncle Chuck’s senior picture.
My uncle Scott moved to California when he was a teenager because he always felt like he wanted to get out of Orlando.
My uncle Donald can make you laugh during any situation, but still show you he seriously cares.
My uncle Danny is at the top of his game when there is a tragedy. He knows how to bring comfort to people during their most difficult times.
I am not exactly like any of them in any of these ways. But occasionally I can look at them and I can see in my own life how similar we are in specific arenas.
For a little over 6 of the last 10 years I worked with one of my uncles. Uncle Danny is a pastor. He and I went to a conference together as he was going to start a new church and I offered to do the music. At the conference, we had to register with a church name that we were associated with.
Lake Pickett Church.
To this day, there still isn’t a church named that. Eventually that name became Eastpoint Fellowship.
There are a TON of great things that I will write at some point about Eastpoint Fellowship and the awesome opportunity I had to work for that church from the ground up. And one of the greatest things about the job was that there was only one downside to the job.
Usually, you can pick out a ton of things you dislike about a job and you can pretty much go negative in every area of your career and the people you work with and the situations you deal with. But at Eastpoint there was simply one thing that I absolutely couldn’t stand.
It wasn’t a person.
It wasn’t a specific belief system or way of thinking that I didn’t agree with.
It wasn’t what was required of me.
It was one thing. And this one thing was completely natural for the environment that it was created in. In fact, there was absolutely no way to avoid this thing.
Danny Strickland (Uncle) and Jason Avera (Nephew) had a working relationship that was very difficult to separate from the family relationship. And NEITHER were bad. It’s just a strange thing when “Uncle” becomes “Boss”. When “Nephew” becomes “Employee”.
I’m not complaining or whining. I’m just saying that during that stretch of time I really missed when it was just Uncle and Nephew.
I did a lot to make our working relationship not be as great as it could be. I was selfish many times. I was young and stupid, and thought I knew everything. I took advantage of my uncle at work because he was my uncle. Many times I did not put in the effort that I should have. There were times when I simply communicated so poorly. I’m sure I could come up with excuses, blah blah blah…but the truth is that many times I wasn’t a great employee. And that spilled over into “uncle/nephew”.
Like I said, this was the only thing that I didn’t like about the job. And it was a natural friction working with family. But many times I chose to make it worse, and that is my fault. My uncle didn’t deserve that.
All of that to say….
Last weekend he and my Aunt Cookie and my cousin Casey and her baby came up to visit with us. They were here to get a taste of No Longer Bound (see Adam part 1) and we got to spend some quality time together. Even a week later, I’m not really sure of what to write about all that happened during their visit as it relates to Adam.
I was reminded of pain.
I was reminded of love.
I was reminded that my Uncle is once again, simply my Uncle. And I am once again, Nephew.
We got to hang out and talk about serious things, and also laugh really hard at others. I got to show him around the area here and he was able to tell me what has been going on in his life since I moved away.
I don’t want you to think that our relationship in Orlando was ever BAD. It wasn’t. It just wasn’t simply Uncle and Nephew.
And last weekend, for the first time in a long time, Uncle Danny and Nephew Jason spent some quality family time together without having any other type of relationship to worry about.
I love my Uncle. He is one of the best people I know. He has loved me more than most anyone has. Last weekend was great all around. For so many reasons.
But specifically uncles and nephews got back to being just uncles and nephews.
And also friends.