in praise of holely families

I meant to write and publish this post on The Feast of the Holy Family. But, I was too busy on that day, and in the weeks that followed. Too busy. With family.

Old school images of the Holy Family make me think of today’s photoshopped, artistically staged Instagram pictures. Flowers and misty lighting might capture a split second of perfection in a family photo. It doesn’t reflect the messiness of daily life. And, life can be messy.

As a new decade begins, it’s a chance to reflect on more than the past year. On New Year’s Eve, we began chatting about all that our family went through in the last ten years. As we began listing our well worn litany of woes, our daughter stopped us all. Yes, shit happened, she said. But, so did a lot of good. And we need to embrace it.


There are holes in the fabric of every family. Some are caused by simple wear and tear. Others are ripped and torn apart by unexpected crises and losses. Sadly, we live in a throw away culture. When newness fades it is thrown away. Imperfection is rejected and discarded. We have forgotten the art of mending and darning, picking up each dropped thread one by one. It’s a patient art. Re-weaving the new into the old, making it whole again.

My phone is filled with photos from the holidays. Children are caught in mid flight during group poses. Tears, giggles and snotty noses are captured together. No one has their hands prayerfully folded, they’re too busy scrambling to corral the littles. There are no lilies or roses. There isn’t a halo in sight. But, laughter abounds. As does love. Much love.

Yes, there is holiness in the holely.