You know what I like about my family? Well, a lot of things, actually, but in particular, I like that I can just be me around them. I don’t have to pretend, or put on airs, or fake it till I make it. I can just be.
I can be introverted at times camped out in the bedroom and the life of the party at other times right in the thick of things. I can be cranky ole dad in the mornings and crazy fun dad on the weekends. I can be stern Mr. Babione making sure every i is dotted and t is crossed and lax Mr. Babione letting a verbal answer with the right number of syllables work. I can be the doting husband and the loving father. I can simply be me. Why? Because it’s my family. This is where I’m known. This is where I’m welcome and loved for being me. This is where I’m home.
Family is where I am. I don’t have to go anywhere to be a part of my family. I don’t have to meet with my family certain days of the week to be a part of my family. I don’t have to give money to be a part of my family, and my family doesn’t have to give me money to be a part of my family. I don’t have to talk to other people about my family to be a part of my family. I don’t have to memorize the family book or history to be a part of my family. I don’t have to help raise money for my family to be a part of my family. I am a part of my family because of my bloodline. My blood flows through my family. My family is an extension of me.
Now, on balance, if I never saw my family, I’d be considered estranged. (I’m already considered strange.) I wouldn’t know my family if I never spent any time with them. My family wouldn’t know me if they never spent any time with me. If I only saw them once a week, or I had to meet them at a certain place every so often, then, though it was my family, I wouldn’t have everything I’ve described in the above paragraphs. I would feel like I couldn’t be me. I would feel like I had to act a certain way so my family would want to spend more time with me. I would feel like I had to perform certain acts so my family would still come back each week. I would feel like I had to do, speak, and act just right so my family would love me. I would never dream of being offensive in any way, otherwise my family wouldn’t stick around me. I would never demand love or devotion, because too much could drive my family away. If I never lived with my family, though I was connected by bloodline, I wouldn’t really have all the things that make family so great. I wouldn’t have my family in its fullness. Any love would be distant and feel artificial. It would be easy to desire a new family.
I know some of the things I’ve said don’t seem to make a lot of sense with regards to my family, but some of the things I’ve said are exactly how we approach God’s Family. We treat His Family like it’s a business. We have to go to a certain place on a certain day to perform certain rituals to be a part of His Family. We become easily offended whenever the Head of the Family does something we don’t understand, or He allows something we don’t understand. And the heartbreaking truth is that we don’t understand it, because we don’t really know the Head of the Family. We’re so concerned with other people being a part of His Family, that we leave out the parts about self-sacrifice and discipline. We allow mixture into God’s Family. We pollute the bloodline. Because we don’t really know the Head of the Family. And, for whatever plethora of reasons, we don’t really want to. We say we do, we sing songs about wanting to Him more, but when it comes to allowing His life to be expressed through us, instead of our own, we balk. We think twice. We reconsider. Maybe we’ve got Him all wrong? Maybe He is just full of tolerance and love? Maybe we can just meet at a coffee shop every so often and not really do life together? Maybe we really can cheapen His Family?
Saints, God’s desire for an increased expression of His life led Him to create. That creation was, and is, meant to extend His Family. Christ is to be the firstborn among many brethren (Romans 8), and He is to bring many sons to glory (Hebrews 2). What if we started treating each other like family? Like the brothers and sisters we are? What if, like family, we did life together? Every day? What difference would that make in all the other things with which we concern ourselves? I wonder.
Lord, may You have a place to just be. May You have Your Family. Amen.