When I got married I know I wasn’t thinking about Christa’s family as much as I was thinking about Christa. I think the same goes for her. It’s only after the vow when you begin to realize the way in which you are associated with an unfamiliar group of people... The family. You have no idea at the beginning what you inherit from these strangers. All the expectations and generations of stories and decisions both good and bad. To be honest there have been people in my family that I’ve felt like I've had to apologize for and others of which I am extremely proud (sometimes they are the same people). When Christa shared her name with me I was also handed a mixed-bag of characters in her ongoing story and they've all changed me in some way... Some more dramatic ways than others but changed me none the less... all this by taking on the family name.
As I reflect on how that happened some of the details are hazy but I remember there was a vow, a ring, some wine and dancing... it’s awfully similar to the way I joined another, albeit slightly more dysfunctional family.
When I took this name I wasn’t thinking about any thing else but Jesus. I knew he had a family but in the beginning I didn’t think that I had to worry much about them because, you know, it was all about “me and Jesus” or so I was told (by his family strangely enough). Anyway, his family had a lot of thoughts about our relationship and what it should be like. I tried to convince them of my commitment to their father but regardless of what I did there always seemed to be that one crabby uncle or aunt that made me feel like an interloper. After trying to change myself to fit them which certainly didn’t make me happy (Jesus wasn’t so jazzed about it either), I tried to change them... that didn’t go so well. We ended up retreating to our corners after saying really stupid things to each other. I started to think maybe they weren’t in the Jesus family after all... Yeah! They certainly didn’t act like him. Maybe they were the interlopers!
I won’t lie, this felt good to believe and it sure took the pressure off... No more awkward dinners or dealing with the conspiracy theories of the chauvinistic grandpa, the nitpicking of the puritanical aunties or the rich cousins that were inexplicably always broke and bumming money.
I would have totally been fine living with Jesus and the other “outsiders” for the rest of my life and I almost did until Jesus screwed things up. He started hanging our with those wackos. It’s like he didn’t care that they were mean or crazy... What made it worse is that they didn’t want him around either! It was like he was trying to keep together this family that couldn’t stand each other. Nobody wanted to come to the table for dinner and he was dragging us all there by force... and there I was at the table... I was there but I was pissed.
I was mad because he was using my love for him to trick me into loving his family!... Then I remembered, one of the reasons I fell in love with him was because he loves his messed-up relations so well! So, even though I can’t say I like them all the time, the more I watch the way He is with them the more I start to see the miracle... the miracle is that not only does he love them he likes them... I guess the same goes for me.
Above our dirty bathroom mirror there is a hand written quote from St Augustine that says “the Church is a whore and she is my mother.” I mutter this to myself frequently at our family dinners when my uncle says something stupid about “the gays” and I take another glass of wine hopes this one gets me tipsy.