On one of the first occasions when I spent time with the little girls who would become my nieces, they were asked a question by my husband, Wade, affectionately known to the girls as “Gunka”. He was sitting on a chair in the dining room, and he gathered them into his arms and asked “Girls, what is the most important thing?”. They answered, “Family and the people you love. Then, tacos.”I remember thinking how sweet it was that no matter who asked them that important question, they knew the answer, and it was always the same.
Throughout my life, I’ve been pretty close to my family, although like most families we’ve endured ups and downs, times of greater closeness and times of separation. But through it all, I know that family absolutely IS the most important thing. When my first marriage failed because we both chose other priorities besides our marriage, I knew that I wanted to eventually find a man who valued me and valued his/our family above the things of this world, material possessions, hobbies, etc. I’m not saying that those things don’t play an important role in one’s life, but they can’t take the top spot or else the stability of the family is likely to crumble. That’s the thing about family: it is solid at its core but can easily crack if neglected.
I once heard a man speaking about marriages and love. He made a comparison to love being like a plant that requires water every single day. He said in order to make a marriage work (or a family, or any worthwhile relationship), you cannot go even one day without “watering” it. How often is it, though, that the world and its pressures suck us all dry, so to speak, and we have such little left to give to our families and those who are most important in our lives? How frequently do we hoard this most important gift, afraid that if we give too much away we wont have enough for ourselves? How often do we not receive this life giving gift from our own loved ones, and we start to feel dry and brittle? It happens quickly. When hearts and great loves are not watered, they quickly fade. My challenge is to be a watering can FULL of life-giving and love-sustaining water for my family and those I love the most. I can’t think of any greater gift with such an incredible return on investment!! I also want nothing more than to be a living, breathing example of this to my children and to everyone around me. Sure, this way of life comes with lots of challenges. We all fall short, at times, and we’re all guilty of letting selfishness, self-centeredness, pride, exhaustion, self-pity, etc. take priority over sharing our gift with our families. Can you imagine how much stronger our families could be if we made sure to love them harder and more intentionally every single day?? If we were honest with ourselves, I bet we’d all find that we have so much more to give in this regard, and isn’t that the most important thing?