We are comprised of an assortment of these characteristics: goofy, smart, witty, philosophical, spiritual, high-strung, anxious, dependable, crazy, compassionate, humble, forgetful, helpful, sarcastic, perseverant, blunt, wise, stubborn, joyful, and strong. We all have our faults, we all fail at times. But my family, despite its size and our different personalities, beliefs, mannerisms and attitudes, all have one fundamental characteristic about each of us and that is unconditional love. It's so amazing to see the movement of such love in action. Because we are big, when we all come together to express that love in a specific way or circumstance, it's like an enormous tide of calm water washing over the receiver(s)' life, aiding them back to shore. It is indeed a mirror of God's own love.And that is what I adore about my family. I love that despite the times we have hurt each other and despite issues we have faced, we could always count on the unconditional love and support from each other. There is no question of that. Never has been one. We have understood it for as long as we were capable. It didn't matter that it didn't always feel like love. It didn't matter that we were each often in unreachable places where the darkness kept us from seeing the love with our eyes. But always, always, there was an indescribable, unadulterated knowledge that yes, indeed, it was there. Pride often got in the way of admitting to that fact. Sometimes we forgot that our flesh is not to be the one that gets the last word, that despite our human nature and the devil's pursuit our souls spoke louder, saw clearer and knew deeper.
I am thankful to God that He placed me in the family that He did. He made plans for each of us, knowing full-well long before He knit us in our mother's womb, that we would be each other's siblings. He knew who our parents would be. He knew who each of us would marry. He knew the children He had in mind for us to have as well. He knew every intricate detail of our life and the extent to which our life would reach and He knew how far we'd stray from His path and when. He planned for the exact details of the circumstance that would bring us back to Him. We can regret what we have done to hinder the expression and growth of our love and friendship, but we must not ever regret the circumstances that drew us together as one unit intertwined together by the struggles, uncertainties, joys and accomplishments of this life. We have been challenged by each other and have learned so much from each other. We were wise enough to allow even the most difficult circumstances between us to pave the way for- at the very least- the deepening of our love for each other, and even greater, our walk with the Lord. Family is the essence of who we are designed to be; the foundation for what God wants us to become.
*Pictures above from top to bottom: My mom and dad, me and my sisters a LONG time ago, with my niece Victoria in the foreground, and my brothers holding their babies, Patrick (left) and Lucia (right).