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Judgment Day

” Only God can Judge me”  Do any of you really believe that is true?   Tupac believed that, but in the end,  I’m pretty sure he learned that wasn’t the case. Have you ever heard people say “It’s not my place to judge” ,  or ” I don’t judge anyone”, or ” Don’t judge a book by it’s cover,” or  “Who are  you to judge?”  Why do we utter such nonsense? It’s lies. We are just lying to others, to ourselves, but fooling no one in the process. What we should be saying instead is that judgment is innate. It is human. It is honest. What matters is what  we do with that judgment. How we act unto others after making the judgments or thinking the judgments is the real concern here. But to deny something that is involuntary is to deny human nature. We can’t control whom we judge. We can only control how we treat others after. And you can bet God will judge those actions the most. 

We all judge. No matter if you come to terms with it or not, fact is fact. You walk out of your house everyday and stare judgment directly in the face, unintentionally, unconsciously, or sometimes plain out deliberately. We can fool ourselves all we want by thinking we don’t judge, by thinking we never think we are better than another, but we all do it. The human species will continue to do it. Forever.

It’s not only us who are judging, but we are also the victims of being judged; by our race, by our face, by our weight, by our friends, by being human. It is something that is beyond our control. I do not have power over my way of thinking upon meeting you. I look at you, I see you for the first time, and I don’t just look away without a second thought. I read you, I analyze you, I admire you, or  I shamefully belittle you. Simply put, I judge you. All by the way you look, or the way you stand, or by with whom you are accompanied.( ” Tell me who you hang around with and I’ll tell you what you are.” ) I walk inside a destination and I don’t think about the judgments being thrown my way. I am oblivious to the people around me deciding who I am and how I am all by the way I look at that particular moment in time and by the actions in which I am participating.

I don’t think about the millions of bystanders I am unaware of that are deciding if I’m pretty, if I’m ugly, if I’m fat, if I’m skinny, if I’m smart,  if I’m like them, or if I’m abnormal in any way. I don’t think about the people deciding if I’m worthy of their attention, if they want to befriend me, if they are jealous of me, or those people that hate me instantly, just like that.

I don’t think about my elders who look at me and see their youth flashing before their wise eyes and think ” I never dressed like that, or talked like that, or acted that way.” I don’t think about the kids who may look up to me  or the kids that  decide right there on the spot that when they grow up they will never be like me, or dress how I dress, or talk how I talk, or hang with people like the ones I hang with.

The point is you just don’t think before you judge.  I’m completely unaware of all that is being directed at me and all that I am directing at others. Right now though, as I sit here and think about the things that I never think about; I am discovering that the only way to overcome judgment is to come to terms with the fact that we can never overcome it.  It’s a force that is naturally beyond our control.

Some of us spend our whole lives anticipating the famous so-called “Judgment Day” and I can’t help but wonder what we are all worried about. We’re all dreading a day when we’re supposed to be judged. The sad part is that that one day is every day-for as long as we shall live and there is absolutely nothing we can do about it.

Maybe stop and think  about this before you tell someone ” I don’t judge,”  It is not dishonorable and wrong to do so. It’s more honorable to come to terms with the fact that all of us judge, than to be dishonorable by lying about it, and defying the components that make up human nature. I say, go ahead and judge. You will anyway. What defines character is what you choose to do with those judgments and how you act in spite of them.  

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Sunday Dinners with Mia Famiglia

Growing up, I missed a lot of  ” Sunday Fundays” with friends; whether they were swimming, hanging out, shopping, whatever. If it was a Sunday, everyone knew where I would be. Sunday was a day for family. All day long. I wouldn’t have it any other way. It was an amazing way to grow up. It helped mold me into the person I am today and I wouldn’t change it for the world.  Growing up Italian Catholic meant two things on Sundays:  1) You went to church  and 2) you had Sunday dinner with your entire immediate family. To most, immediate families meant mom, dad, brother, sister, dog, whomever lives in your home, right? Not in our family.  Immediate family meant  my grandparents, aunts, uncles, first cousins, and yeah, even sometimes 2nd and 3rd cousins. And when I say Sunday dinner together, I mean all at one long table.  It doesn’t get any better than that… or any crazier/louder than that either.  The first time my husband who is only a tiny bit Italian came for sunday dinner, he asked why everyone was screaming, and he seriously had a headache the whole night after leaving.  I really didn’t notice what he was referring to!  “That’s just how we talk,”  I said! 

 The smell of sunday dinner is something that will never escape my memory. The smell of fresh warm garlic bread, a fresh batch of  gravy (no, not sauce)  on the stove simmering all day long, creating an aroma that filled your nostrils the second you walked in the door.  Wine was poured, plates were completely filled and you couldn’t leave the table until you finished your plate, oh and the salad was always eaten last.

I was lucky enough to begin life with both sets of grandparents.  That meant church, then going to my paternal grandparents for an early dinner (Italians also eat very early on sundays, usually around 2pm or 3pm) and then heading over to my maternal grandparents for dessert and then cards.  It was never a complete sunday without cards! And you want to talk about loud?  I think we knew every swear word in both Italian and English by the time we were 3!  My family always fought hard,  everything was an argument, but we loved even harder.  Kisses and hugs, food galore, laughter, love, and family, every sunday.  What more can you ask for? 

Unfortunately, Sunday dinners ended early on my paternal side, when I lost my Nani and Papa at a very young age. My Nani first, then my Papa a few years later. The void of losing them that early has still never left me. I was fortunate enough to still have my other grandparents and the Sunday tradition carried on with them  until I was 30 years old, almost 4 years ago. I lost my maternal Nani first,  then my Papa a few years later. History sadly repeating itself.  I’d say that is pretty lucky and pretty damn amazing though to be able to say that every sunday for 30 years, I had the wonderful comfort of knowing that no matter how bad the week was, what was going on in any of our lives, no matter what time of year, no matter who was getting along and who wasn’t, we were together as a family every single Sunday. 

We still carry on the tradition with my real immediate family now at my parents house with my brother and sister and their families and myself, my husband, and my son Matteo.  No, it’s not the same. It’s still loud, it’s still crazy, it’s still filled with love, but it’s just a little quieter,  a little tamer, our hearts are a little heavier with the loss of more and more family members each year. But I will say this, sundays are still for family, we still sit at one long table,  the pasta is still served,  the bread still warm waiting for us, laughter still fills the house from morning to night, and the love for one another is still growing strong. We still know that no matter what, we always have sundays together as a family. I like to think my grandparents are smiling down on us from heaven, clinking their wine glasses together, and still smelling the fine aroma of great food,  love, laughter, and family at every single Sunday Dinner.

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