Kyle and I were having an argument last night. You know the kind where you get off topic and weave and wind till nothing anyone is saying makes much since, we were arguing for the sake of arguing. But at one point during it I said, the problem is instead of just thinking that you and I are different, you think your right and I'm wrong. Exactly, he said, finally something we could agree on.
Once upon a time our arguments included yelling and insulting and anger so big it couldn't fit in the room with us. Over the years God has worked on our hearts and our marriage till we've both reached the place of desiring a loving marriage more than we desire to be right. So there was not really any anger last night as much as there was frustration as we tried to find a middle ground.
It begin over whether or not to invite someone to accompany our family to an activity, he was in the yes category, I was in the no. This is a common place we find ourselves, having become so similar in most of our thinking, it's surprising to me just how far apart we stand on this issue.
Kyle loves people, I love people too but in a different way. Kyle enjoys inviting anyone and everyone to do, well anything with us. It doesn't matter to him if he has just met the person or if we're long friends, they are equal opportunity to invite along on a family vacation, an impromptu lunch at our messy house, an outing to the local park. Kyle has very few what I would call close friends, but the man is friends with just about everyone in this town and if it were up to him he would love to have each one of them here day after day till we reached the end, and then start all over again.
I am, at my core, the opposite. I enjoy spending time with my family and just my family. For some reason in my head the event is less significant if it involves other people. I realize that, at least in part, this is not the way that God has asked me to live my life, so I have over the years moved slowly, step by step, over to Kyle's camp.
We now have people in our home for a meal a couple times a week, I don't yell when Kyle invites someone over without warning me first, I have come to accept the fact that people do not care whether or not my house is clean, and I truly enjoy the sound of my home filled with a large number of people fellowshipping together.
But, oh yes here it is, the "but" I was trying to get him to understand. I believe that there is something that is different and important about family time. That there is something to be said for spending time together with just your family. Something special about being alone with just your spouse or just your child.
Or at least that was how I felt last night, while we argued in circles about nothing, me not quite able to get my footing in my argument, because frankly, I was treading on shaky ground. While there is something unique and even necessary about spending time alone with members of your family, to imply that we don't get enough of it, that we need to turn away lonely friends, to carve out some more "family time" was plain selfishness.
When I allow myself and my home to be used by God I am able to love my neighbor, to love the least of these. When we bring along people into our lives, into our activities, and our meals, they become part of our family. They remind me a family is not people who share a last name but those who share a Father God. Me and Kyle, we are different, sure, but this time I was also wrong.