Today’s verse: 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7 “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
I grew up in a very small town. I was one of six children in my family. Many of the families in my neighborhood had large numbers of children – a couple of families even had 12 kids. Life seemed normal; we played outside all summer, walked to school and shopping, had a working dad, and a stay-at-home mom. It wasn’t until I went to college that I had my eyes opened and realized what a sheltered life I had lived and how dysfunctional we really were as a family.
I spent the weekend at my annual family reunion. We do it mainly for my 89 year old mother, who wants us all to love each other and be best friends. It is not happening. We are all so different and all have our issues. I always tell my mom that if I worked with these people, they would not be my friends. Over the years, five of us married and divorced (one brother never married). To me this says that something is wrong about the way we view relationships, and life in general. It also says we all must be difficult to live with.
We are all far from perfect. In my family, it is upsetting to see some of the abuses that we do to ourselves and our bodies. Many in my family are truly unhealthy. There are drug abusers, smokers, over eaters, health issues, non-exercisers, and we all drink more than we should. It is hard to function in the midst of such dysfunction. We do not all like each other, although we all pretend we do. In spite of this, once a year we put aside our differences and get together (and sometimes actually enjoy each other’s company. )
The important thing is to realize that in spite of all the differences, this is our family. Families need to support each other. They forgive each other. If one family member fails, or feels low, or has addictions, we need to realize this is not the end of the world. Inadequacies are not failures. We need to encourage and lift up the family member that is hurting. We need to have patience and love, in spite of how much they annoy us or shove us away. We cannot change them, but we can love them. We can offer help and kindness. Even though there is major dysfunction, love and kindness, patience, support, not insisting on our own way, not rejoicing at wrongdoing, (see above Bible verse) all can go a long way in healing relationships. So we keep trying. Maybe one year we will get there, maybe even while my mom is still here to rejoice in it!
God wants us to love one another, as he loves us. He is all-forgiving, as we should be. He ignores our weaknesses, and helps us with His strength. We need to strive to be more like this in our relationships with our families, no matter how dysfunctional they are.
The following poem (author unknown) is apt for dysfunctional families trying to help each other, or for anyone in a relationship:
If you have learned to walk
A little more sure-footedly than I,
Be patient with my stumbling then
And know that only as I do my best and try
May I attain the goal
For which we both are striving.
If through experience, your soul
Has gained heights which I
As yet in dim-lit vision see,
Hold out your hand and point the way,
Lest from its straightness I should stray,
And walk a mile with me.
May God bless you and your families.
Healthy Living Recipe
Now that farmer’s markets are open, and home vegetable gardens are in full swing, here is a great recipe for Pasta Sauce using juicy, ripe homegrown tomatoes and basil!
2 lbs ripe home grown heirloom tomatoes (room temperature)
2 garlic cloves
1/2 tsp. salt
6 large basil leaves
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes (or to taste)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup grated Parmesan or cubed fresh mozzarella (optional)
Rinse, drain and dry tomatoes. Cut out cores. Cut tomatoes in 1 inch chunks over bowl to catch juice.
Smash garlic cloves, peel and chop into fine paste.
Scatter garlic paste and salt over tomatoes, stir gently.
Cut basil leaves into thin strips. Scatter these over tomatoes, then sprinkle in red pepper flakes.
Pour in oil, stir and fold to coat and to distribute seasonings.
Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let marinate at room temp for 1-2 hours.
Toss marinated sauce with freshly cooked and drained pasta.
Serve as is or toss with cheese for extra richness.