Tuesday, June 15, 2010


The older you get the more weddings you attend. Sadly, this is also true with funerals. I've been to my fair share of both, but as I get older I think I am finally starting to appreciate the importance of the deepest bond shared between people. This is of course the bond of family.

I have loved and hated my own family, but much like anyone else I've been deeply loyal to them through all of it. In my late teens I think was trying to break free of the responsibility of the family I was born into and I rebelled. In my early twenties I stuck my flag in the ground when we started our own, assured that ours would be stronger than the one my parents provided for us. But only now at twenty-seven am I finally starting to see the value that the old folks always talk about; that unmistakable bond, that sense of community. The shared name that comes with the shared memories, the shared growth, the shared victories, the shared losses. As humans we long for deep community, and a strong family can completely fill that void.

As a generation, as a culture even, I think we've lost a lot of what family means. The sense of entitlement within our generation has wrecked our marriages, made us disloyal and selfish. We think we're being modern or enlightened as we escape the "chains of tradition" but the truth is we lack the sense of family as it was intended, all the while desperately craving it. 

There's something that these strong, loving families have that we don't. While sitting in a wedding reception or rehearsal dinner among these families I can feel it. It's emotionally moving. There's something true about it, it just feels right. Members are accepted, they belong, and they are loved within their families. They hurt each other deeply, but they forgive totally and they never turn their back on each other. This is what family was meant to be, to shape us into better people, to provide love and security over time, to pass down gifts and lessons, not diseases and abuse. As I watch two strong families join together through marriage I can't help but be inspired. Even at funerals I can sense of the power of a strong family who comes together to mourn a loved one, to remember the details of a life lived, to offer support to each other. There really is nothing more beautiful, and nothing that better illustrates the Church's intended function than a strong, loving, committed family.

My twenties have been about traveling and music. It's been about Kristie and I doing life together, being adventurous, growing stronger and building a solid relational foundation for our family. I feel a shift happening within me as I turn the corner and start looking at my thirties. I want to further my family. I want to create something strong and loving, rich with memories like I had as a kid but even much better. Something long-lasting. I want to leave a legacy, to give life and to carry on my family name. To pass down history and meaning and lessons and stories. These are the things that matter. There's a new adventure a few years away, just over the horizon; to give what I've received these past several years. To receive, through giving, a new struggle to shape us. 


  1. I sure hope you can do all that and still make awesome music. Gotta make sure you decide upon and honor your priorities, though.

  2. Hey Matt, this is Mary D. Julio and I have been married nearly 30 years and going strong. It truly takes forgiveness and conditional love that has unconditional limits. By conditional, I mean, that we all have boundries, but we need to have endless possiblities in the relationship bond. It is always evolving, always growing and nurturing. The base of which is committment. None of us are perfect, but in family, where love is the binding unit, we have acceptance. It's so great. I know you and Kristie will have that for your lifetime together. You are both the "salt of the earth" and understand these simple, yet profound truths. God bless you.

  3. I think that you and Kristie will make incredible parents in the future or even now, for that matter! Your writings give the impression that you are mature beyond your age (I have kids your age, so I'm basing my assumptions on what I know) and pretty level headed as well. It also seems that Kristie and you are fairly well matched as far as beliefs and all, that in itself makes for a good foundation. I've been a bit curious as to whether there might one day be some little MacDonalds running around to give you even more material to write about!

    I also have to confess that the whole family closeness thing is something I had longed for all my life and thought I'd do a much better job at it, than the parents did, but sadly I've turned out not to be the perfect homemaker I'd envisioned as a kid. It's very hard to do it all by yourself! So trust the Lord to keep the both of you on the same page!

  4. I'm still sixteen, young and rash and immature a lot of the time, so I'll often fight and snap and...not exactly cherish my family (I have three little siblings - two boys, ages 10 and 5, and a girl, age 2). And the boys LOVE to tease me. And yes, my parents and I don't see eye-to-eye all the time (to put it gently).

    But I know, when push comes to shove, that they all have my back and that's what is amazing about it. The same five-year-old who likes to jump on me covered me with a blanket and carried a chair for me to rest my feet on after I had eye surgery. The ten-year-old who teases me all the time read to me. The two-year-old is one of my biggest role models and she knows exactly when I need some love.

    I try to be the best big sister and daughter I can be...it's not always easy. But keeping that family closeness and love is important.

    I'm off to play a board game with my brother now. :)

  5. Awesome. The older I get (a whopping 21 years) the less I get to see my family but the more I realize how legit they are. I'm about to embark on the adventure of marriage myself. You're playing in Des Moines (the location of said festivity) the night of the rehearsal but we had to push it back a few hours so we can't come see you jam. 'Tis bittersweet, but enjoy the great frontier of Iowa.