In the Family Way

06-09-2024Weekly Reflection© LPi Colleen Jurkiewicz Dorman

Look here: there is no one more family-oriented than me. I drive a minivan. I wear mom jeans. I wipe unidentified gunk off of kids’ faces without a second thought.

I’m all about family, but I’m not always a fan of what “family” has come to mean in the modern lexicon. Family values. Family-friendly. Family-oriented. It’s usually a synonym for “non-offensive.” Soft. Moderate. Nice.

It’s all fine, I suppose. But is it genuine? Creating a family, bringing that family physically into the world, was the hardest and most painful thing I ever did. The care and keeping of that family — the teamwork with my spouse, the feeding and watering of the children, the teaching of the writing and the reading the and praying — it’s very hardcore. It’s not all stuffed animals and peekaboo. It’s a mental, spiritual, and physical challenge that daily brings me to my knees.

I’m not even talking exclusively about parenting young children. I’m talking about being part of a family in any way — being a son, being a daughter, being a sister and cousin and uncle. Families are complicated and strange and messy. Sometimes boundaries need to be drawn, or they need to be crossed. Sometimes walls need to be put up or torn down. It’s never easy. It’s never simple.

But I’ve never known someone who didn’t want to be part of a family in some way, whether that’s a blood family or one created by circumstance. And there’s a reason Christ creates a family (“Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother”) and not a club.

A family is a crucible, yes — but what comes out is so much more beautiful than what went in. For all the effort and even pain that is sometimes involved in a family relationship, there is nothing more defining, more fulfilling.

We are part of Christ’s family, and what we can expect from that is certainly not a life of simple, clear-cut, undemanding discipleship. We can expect confusion. We can expect discomfort. But we can expect to be perpetually drawn to the heart of one who loves us without hesitation, without condition.

In the end, we’re family.