Thursday, July 28, 2005

Extended Family

I met the Italian side of my family this week. It may be true that my bloodlines are traced predominantly through northern Europe (Sweden, Norway, Germany, Holland, and the British Isles) -- but indeed it turns out that I have close relatives in Italy... on my Father's side.

My Heavenly Father, that is. Truthfully, I've often been annoyed by Christians who refer to each other as "Brother" or "Sister" -- just some weird Christian subcultural insincerity too frequently thrown about in a flippant and meaningless manner. But there really is something to the whole "Family of Christ" thing, even if it comes with some subcultural baggage. If God is my Father... And if the same God is the same Father to other believers in Italy (among other places)... Then I've got brothers and sisters in Italy (among other places).

This week, our family has been gifted with the opportunity to live in the home of Paul and Janice -- sleeping in their beds, eating with their silverware, reading their books, watching their DVDs, drying off with their towels -- with no thought to how we could meaningfully compensate them for their incredible hospitality. We shared a magnificent dinner with Frank, Pam, and Carolyn... listened to Pam translate the interactions of a Sunday worship gathering... watched Frank play with our children like a favorite uncle... shared the city's best gelatto with them on the hottest day of the summer. We hiked through the Alpine foothills with Anthony, Nikki, and Siena to discover a 11th Century monastery... shared with them the burdens of experiences, emotions, and heavy children along the way. At every turn, in every interaction, we experienced the love and hospitality of family in the truest sense of the word.

I'm humbled and awed by the extended spiritual family that surrounds me. Even in an unfamiliar time and place, the global Church provides me with familiarity and foundation. What more can I say? It's another one of those over-used and insincere "Christiany" words, but I am truly blessed by my extended family.


At 3:06 AM, Anonymous mom said...

My heart warms to hear that you have found new family. I was recently thinking how very much I miss you guys. I spoke with a woman today whose son is contemplating a move to Arizona, and how she was actively trying to disuade him from moving, saying it's just too far, and I commented that she should try Amsterdam & Texas! I'm glad that God has you in the palm of His hand, and that you find others to fill in the gap for us and be your "family" away from home, even in Italy. I love you guys!!!

At 1:30 PM, Blogger Eric Asp said...

Rest assured, though, Mom -- there's no family like my real family. I love the fact that our family surpasses geographic limitations. There's no other biological family to which I'd rather be connected!


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