• Jason E. Fort

Nothing in the World like Family



Ain't nothin' in the world like family - isn't that how the saying goes?

I just finished a novel written by a fellow Christian author, and his story really focused on the importance of family. I have always considered myself to be a family man, and I owe it to my own family and the way I was raised for being that way. But Randy Tramp's story, Night to Knight, really put into perspective how without family, we become incomplete individuals. It's not that we should depend on our family for happiness; it's that when we are united with family, and I mean in unity with one another, we can be a more fulfilled individual. If you help meet the needs of those in your family, it will also be fulfilling for you. I personally think my wife understands this more than the average human being is capable, and this book helped me realize that I have, without intention, taken that for granted.

Let's go back to Randy's novel for a second. In the book, there is a man who is conflicted between wanting to help other people's families unite, and putting efforts into meeting the needs of his own family. It is a constant struggle with the character, Mark Steel. Without giving too much away, Steel has to come to a point where he has to choose which part of his life he needs to keep the focus. Although I have never been in quite the predicament Randy's character faces, I am sure we can all relate. And the funny thing is, we can probably often times justify why it is so important for our family's needs indirectly that we accomplish the more personally-driven, selfish task.

For example, I know that every time I have completed a novel, and realize its potential sales could benefit my family one day, I use the excuse of taking time to write in the next writing project to perhaps skip out on potential leisure time with my wife or son, occasionally even when they ask me to join them. I justify the action by saying simply, "I would Honey, but I need to write."

And yet, it is so much more fulfilling when I spend that time with my little family, and my wife tells me afterwards what a good day she had, or thanks me for spending my day with her and our son, Jay.

Now I will go back to my wife, and how she seems to get this so much better than I do. Ever since we got married, she has gone out of her way to do nice things for me, or fun things with our son. Totally unannounced, she has offered to cook this meal or that meal; offered to take Jay to spend money on this necessity or that; or out of the blue ask if there was anything I needed. This is who she is - but why? I honestly think because it is just that rewarding for her...not because she gets something back, but because that is who she is. This goes well beyond us humans for her. She adopted our first two dogs, and developed an affinity for animals. This caused her to want to help other dogs, and she fostered neglected or abused animals. Of course, what happened from there? Well, our little family expanded, and we adopted two of those fostered dogs. So now the people in our house are outnumbered by the canines! While this can be a laughable situation, I think it is a true reflection of my wife's heart.

But this is not a foreign concept. If you've ever helped someone who wasn't even in your family, it probably felt better to you afterward than it did to the person you helped. This is not something to boost your ego or make you feel better...this is just an intrinsically rewarding experience. I truly believe God designed us this way. I have experienced this when I used to teach small kids. I have felt this when helping someone in law enforcement. And I have definitely felt this way when I did something nice for a member of my family.

So why can't I do this as naturally as my wife, if I know how it feels everytime?

Well, other than chalking it up to my shortcomings, I daresay that we all falter at some point, for a myriad of reasons - selfish or not. But isn't it good to realize it, and maybe strive to do better?

What about the giant heart my wife forced to be contagious for our newly adopted dogs? I was the one in the family, for whatever reason, who thought two little dogs was plenty; why did we need to increase the size of the family anymore? Yet since we took the two other animals in, and their sweet personalities impacted me, the heart somehow found room to grow.

Hang on - isn't this a Godly principle? Doesn't God want us to rejoice in the growth of family? It seems there is the whole baptism into the family of God for believers-thing, or am I mistaken?

What if we could somehow shake off our habits? What if each and every person with a conscience listened to that conscience, and that voice that is telling us to say something about God to someone in the hopes of expanding His family? When we get right down to it, that is how important family is.

Even gang members and the mafia understand the importance of family. God did not create us to be alone; to face this world alone.

Never forget the importance of family...if you or someone you know doesn't have family, start a new one...but you can always join one - the family of God.

---Now the real question - how do we get a new family photo now that the animals outnumber the people in the household (Our latest addition, Gracie, is not in the picture above)?