Italian families are known for their outpouring of love…and food…and loving on you with food. It’s just how it goes. So when we got sixty-plus Italians in one room at Maggiano’s for a reunion on Friday, there was fullness of both belly and heart.
I’m extremely blessed that I have a crazy, dramatic, and yes, extraordinarily wonderful family. (And yes, I know how rare this can be.) Gathering together with this family is something that I cannot put into words. However, I think my brother summed up the experience of being a member of this family quite nicely.
In his speech, he thanked everyone by saying, “Since I’ve been <really litte>, you’ve all taken care of me. And it’s paid off, since now, every day, I take care of others.” (He’s both a paramedic and a firefighter).
You see, in our family, we’re taught to take care of each other — no matter what. You don’t give up on family. My family knows that if we take care of each other, then we’re free to be there for other people in the world. It’s a lesson that I’ve learned my whole life, but I’ve also learned it in church.
When I came to my church about 5 years ago, I was a mess. First time in my life that I could say that I was just a wreck. But people loved on me. They gave me space. They didn’t criticize me for taking too long to get my act back together. I was able to say that life was hard, every week, and that was okay. They nursed me back to health. And being healthy and whole, and reconnected to God, I eventually just started paying it forward.
And now, when I have a tough day or week, I go to those people, and they pray, and they encourage me, sometimes they just offer an “out,” so I’m freed up to love others better.
Take care of me, and I’ll take care of others. It’s just something basic. Something that we “get.”
It’s not easy to do. It often costs us. But it’s where our blessing lies.
I challenge you to press in to others this season. Give people your all. Give ’em what you don’t think you have. Show up when you’re tired. Remember, each of us belong to the other (Romans 12:5). See if your life doesn’t change.