So I’m back! It was a great week away and so full of all things that I thought it would be full of. My history of travelling with kids isn’t spotless, there are times when the hectic busyness mixed with the busy hecticness gets the best of me and I stress right out. But this trip wasn’t so bad, all things considered. Perhaps it’s the combination of my kids being older, the fact that a good portion of our trip was spent with our friends who have kids roughly the same age as ours and kept them busy, and that I just don’t have the energy to be stressed out anymore.
I know, this sounds like our kids are monsters, which they aren’t (all the time). I think the real problem was me, in that I often would put my need to be right ahead of the relationship and teamwork with my wife. And when we disagree on something, that is when I notice I stress out the most.
And let me tell ya, we would disagree a lot.
This isn’t a bad thing (I hope), as different people with different personalities and different outlooks on life would naturally disagree with each other. And when working together on something that is already stress-inducing such as parenting, then of course the disagreements seem to be more severe. I’ve always told my friends who are expecting that the hardest part about parenting isn’t raising the kids, but it is seeing eye-to-eye with your partner in parenting.
But this trip was different. For whatever strange reason (maybe because I’m growing up too), I was able to put aside my need to be right more often for the sake of the relationship with my wife. It was more important to me to agree with her than for me to puff up my ego (even easier when I put it that way). This allowed me to have more fun on this trip, to enjoy my time with my kids, and actually feel more relaxed and ultimately rejuvenated (which is awesome because this week is already shaping up to be pretty busy).
United we stand, divided we fall. That saying makes so much sense. Also, a fun fact: that saying actually was derived from this very gospel reading!
So of course it makes sense, as we know that there is strength in numbers and that irreconcilable differences are typically the downfall of any relationship. What that saying doesn’t do, however, is explain to us how to stay united. It is, as we all know, easier said than done. Deep down, we want to be right. We all like to shift the blame away from ourselves and onto another. We just want others to agree with us, and not the other way around when we have to agree with them.
Jesus is confronted by a somewhat angry mob for being out of his mind. What did Jesus do? He fed people. Healed them. Basically showed them a love that was unheard of and maybe even a little illegal. And the religious leaders were angry. They wanted their laws and traditions to be right. They wanted to shift the blame of their good order falling apart on Jesus. They wanted him to fall in line and agree with them.
But Jesus didn’t. Of course not, he’s Jesus. Instead he showed them (and us) that a house divided against itself will not stand but fall. And a house that is united is a house that does the will of God.
What then, is the will of God? Love. Joy. Peace. Patience. Goodness. Kindness. Gentleness. Faithfulness. Self-control. These are the marks of a disciple, one who follows God and filled with the Spirit. They are also the marks of a house united in the name of God.
For when odds are against us, we will stand together, empowered by the Spirit, forgiven through grace, and united by the love of God, now and forever.
Thanks be to God! Have a great week!