Thursday, January 19, 2012

Mess With One ...

Our family is really close. Some have even described the relationships as "creepy close". Now, before you picture all of us as toothless, dueling banjo-playing, backwoods hillbillies, please know that is not true. We all have our teeth, none of us know how to play the banjo, and we live in the suburbs. We just have a very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, VERY deep-rooted value and understanding of family.

When someone loves and brings joy to one of the members of our family, the other ones will immediately embrace the joy-giver. In fact, we've been known to bring adopted members in to our family circle who are "honorary Allens". When one of our family members dates or marries, get ready -- because we're part of a package deal!! Our intent is not to intrude, but we want to love on the people our family loves on. Our family members are our best friends, and we want to include and love who they love.

On the other hand, when someone hurts or wounds a family member ... hmmmm. Yeah, that's not good. I'd like to say that we all handle that well, but we don't. Some of us handle it better than others. A few members of our family want to maim confront the offending party. Some want to totally write the "bad guy" off and ignore his existence. Some of us are big on forgiveness and continuing to pray for the person. But all of us, without exception, deeply feel the hurts and wounds of our family.

A perfect example of this is when our sons were quite young. We were at a softball game watching their extra-studly dad pitch and play when I saw our middle son (who was three) square off with another little boy who was five. The five-year old had been picking on our son, and since our son grew up in a house full of boys, there wasn't any backing down on his part. Our 6-year-old son saw it as well and immediately ran over and began defending his younger brother by grabbing the older boy, throwing him to the ground, and pounding on him while younger brother joined in. In the meantime, our youngest boy (who was 18 months old) was running as fast as his short, chubby legs could go, and jumped on the pile of brawling boys, swinging his arms and punching the non-Allen as hard as he could. By the time I got there, the 5-year-old was crying and I had to drag all of the Allen boys off of him. Mess with one, you get them all.

Another example? All through junior high and high school, our poor daughter was constantly supervised, watched, and harrassed by her older brothers. If a guy liked her and was brave enough to get past the brothers, that was pretty impressive. Her brothers made sure that didn't happen too often. They confronted, bullied, and basically harrassed any young man who they felt like would not be appropriate for their sister. And since their sister was the princess of the family, it was highly unlikely that any boy ever created in time would be appropriate, let alone good enough for their sister. She hated it but loved it at the same time. Her sense was that family is there to watch out for you.

As I write this, I'm struck with the fact that we're a pretty good example of a 1 Corinthians 12 family ... with the exception of maiming and harassing, of course. 1 Corinthians 12 compares the physical body to the spiritual body of Christ, discussing how the parts are all equally important. What affects one, affects all. When one suffers, all suffer. When one rejoices, all rejoice. Our little family (which continues to grow by marriage and births) is a perfect example of that. The best part? We're our little family within the bigger body of Christ's family -- watching out for each other, loving each other, protecting each other, serving each other, caring for each other. Whether we're talking about our physical family or our spiritual family, we were created to be a part of one. Family is a-w-e-s-o-m-e!!

I'll leave you with the song that our kids grew up singing. In fact, ask them to sing it to you. They all still remember the words. And remember, mess with one of us, you get them all.

Na na na na naaaaa
Na na na na na na
Na na na na naaaaa
Na na na na na na
From city to city
From state to state
Don't mess with the Allens
Cuz we're really great
Na na
Na na na na na na

1 comment:

  1. Why have I never heard this song? I've been an " honorary member" now for years!