Every family is a different level of dysfunctional. Some are high levels, some are lower than high, but every family has to work through some level of disfunction. A true secret of a close family is how do you learn to function well through whatever level of disfunction. Some people know this way more than me, but the cost of a highly dysfunctional family is extremely expensive: Lifelong pain, lifelong scars, counseling, medicine, addictions, generations of hurt or suffering. The cost is high and can go on for a very long time (generations even).
However, the cost of staying close with your family is also high. The time commitment is high, the emotional commitment is high, the sacrifices are high… a close family must be willing to pay a huge price. Although the amount of money that needs to get spent to keep a family close varies, another cost of a close family is certainly monetary as well. Some families value nice cars, a nice house or trendy clothes… but we just can’t let these desires trump the cost of spending time together, praying together, eating together, wasting time together.
The older our family gets, the more spouses and grandkids that are added, and the added kilometers that begin to separate us, the harder it becomes to stay close. Even meeting for a reunion and our parents 40th anniversary becomes an expense that cannot be planned over night. BUT… I am discovering more and more this week that of all the money we need to give away to a hurting world, the money worth keeping for ourselves to spend on our family to keep us close and somewhat functional is not just good, it is necessary.
One person who understands this more than perhaps anyone else I know is my brother Nathan. He has been spending money on his family to keep us close ever since he couldn’t afford a pair of Reebok pumps in the 80’s. We would not be in Barcelona right now enjoying staying close if it weren’t for Nathan. We have experienced our fair share of broken dreams, broken relationships, broken bodies, but one thing my brother and the rest of us won’t let destroy us easily is a broken family.
Thank you Nathan, thank you mom and dad, thank you Elizabeth, thank you Jon and SMa.
Doing our best to stay together in the midst of chaos!