[Re-posted from 2016-08-28]
What exactly is “family”? Can you sum up the meaning in simple words like those listed below?
I’ve had folks tell me that, “Friends are the family that you choose for yourself.” That’s a somewhat cynical (and yet sickly comical) way of looking at “families” when they seem to be full of disorder. This weekend, many “family” issues have been on my mind and my heart. Most of these issues have been lingering for years…unaddressed or ignored in hopes that someday they would be resolved. But the truth of the matter is…they won’t be. I don’t say that as a pessimist, I say that as a realist.
A family, at its core, is constructed of individual humans. And as we all know, we’re all different. To expect harmony in a family (at all times) would be a completely unrealistic expectation. Sure, there are “good times”…ever “great times” experienced by families. But there are also times of conflict, heartache, worry and destruction.
My first family was my mom and dad, brother, and sisters. We experienced all of those adjectives…the good times…and the bad. Sometimes it seemed we were all on the same page…other times we were all on our own planets. And as time went on, and we grew older and started our own families, the conversations changed…the times together became fewer and fewer. Where at one point you knew just about everything each other was doing, sometimes you don’t even know where they are on this planet…and if they’re even still alive.
My second family. I built that. Or at least had a 50% participation rate in the construction. Wife, son and a daughter. Many changes during those building years. Lots of good memories…lots of bad ones. All things change…and so did this family. Wife is no more. The children are now adults.
And now I have my third family. Wife, two grown children, an adopted cat, a Basset hound…and a host of “friends” that are the best family a person could ever ask for and never have the right to deserve.
Along the way, another family, a holy one has been watching over me. A heavenly “father” has seen that I should survive all of this mess down here on Earth. At times I thank him…and others I question his sanity (and my own).
The quote about the “friends being the family you choose for yourself”? There’s more truth in that statement than I wouldn’t want to admit. I have an abundance of cousins, nieces and nephews, in-laws, aunts and uncles…but I also have some “friends” that are more faithful, honest and reliable than the people who share my bloodline. Please don’t think I’m discounting all of my family…but I find it truly fascinating how someone you “meet” can be a better family member than those who share your last name (or family tree).
Sympathy is the last thing I “ever” have asked for in my life. I don’t want it…nor do I need it. What I would like is “understanding”. Understanding of who I am, how I think, and what I wish to experience with the time I have left on this planet. Every day and night, I thank God for “my wife and children, my family and my friends”. I thank God for “forgiveness and the promise of everlasting life through his son Jesus Christ.” Each day I say, “thank you Lord for all the blessings in my life…they are clear and abundant.” I thank God, “for allowing me to see the sun rise another day.” And finally I ask God, “to give me the strength and wisdom to face what is in front of me today.”
Recently, I’m not sure what to think about what has been put “in front of me”. I have a brother, who I love dearly, destroying his life…daily. I have a person I’ve called “sister” who has disowned me for reasons I don’t even know. I have children who I love with all of my heart and soul…who are absent from my life. I have a wife, who I gladly give all that have and all that I am…even though my gift isn’t what I wish it could be.
Friends…and family…my heart aches. I want to fix everything. That’s what skill God gave me. He gave me the gift to fix things…but how do I fix the things for which I have no control? These things that pain me are powerful. I’m the mechanic without a single tool in sight. The writer with no ink. I have prayers, hope and the lessons I try to learn from others…but I don’t feel I’m making any headway. The wheels are spinning but I’m not going anywhere? Is that how you would say it? Well, the problem is…I am going somewhere. Certainly, we all are going “somewhere”. It’s just some of us are on a train that “statistically” will reach the end of the track faster than most others. And so, I sit here at 5:30am on a Sunday morning….laying out my heart, soul, thoughts and emotions for the entire world to see. Maybe this post belongs in a “journal” and not on a “blog”. But as I said in the beginning, this project was intended as a place to share my experiences in the hopes that some “good” will come from these writings.
Family. Something I’ve wanted all my life. Something I’ve never quite figured out how to “hold on to”.
I know that several things will occur when this post is published. Some people will get even more pissed-off at me. Some will suggest that, “I’m venting.” Others will offer their “sympathy and prayers”…that God might see me through these trials (I thank you in advance). Some will be confused. Some will be oblivious.
Maybe the best that I can hope for is that “lines of communication” will be established. That by sharing…what burdens me will be known…and not hidden. Maybe a little light will be cast into the dark corners where the giant elephants sit. And maybe…just maybe…God will offer his blessings to me one more time…and give me the help I need to “fix” that which is broken.
Family. Something I’ve wanted all my life.
Family. Something I need in my life.
P.S.: Please forgive my typos and grammar…and if this was handwritten…please forgive the tear stains on the paper.