How do we define family? How does opening our hearts to beyond shared genetic material make a difference in our lives?
I just spent a week in Southern California for a memorial service for my dad. I received a thank you today from his neighbor who came to the cemetery and reception following. She thanked me for including her and her husband in what she called our family gathering.
She had lived across the street from him for 25 years. Her dog and Dad’s dog didn’t like each other. So she never chatted too much with him these last years. Dad isolated himself after his wife died ten years ago and his dementia and hearing loss started. But she was there for me to check in with every time I went to visit. She provided an outside opinion on how life was going. My dad was well known in the condo village as he walked his dog three times a day up and down the hillsides. People would say hello or invite him in for goodies but he would not hear or understand or remember.
She brought up awareness. How do we hold ourselves with each other? What is family? What is friend? What constitutes our relationship to others? Clan is a powerful way of union and it is not the only way.
We all gathered. Birth family members, step family members, neighborhood friends. Stepfamilies are interesting creations and not always comfortable. Some of us were strangers to each other but there we were. All collected together because a 91 year old man connected us. We were his family no matter our physical genetic material. And no matter how we viewed ourselves in relation to him. There is the family that we say is family so they are. You can make it legal if needed. Community is family by different genetics. We are all part of the whole. We are the family of man.
What does family mean to you? Something good or perhaps something you don’t relate to? Within family you can experience a plethora of connections. Communications and language become important when you don’t share immediate experience. There can be a shorthand among people that creates a sense of family. Events can create an immediate sense of community with strangers. And the word friends can really be used wrong. Many of us have acquaintances, not friends. Friends connotes warmth and companionship and caring. Exactly what we would like to experience in our genetic families. How many times have you gathered with others, family or friends and wondered why? Do you like them? Drinks may make you less rigid about your personal boundaries and it can unleash unwanted considerations. Circumstances and time may hold you together but perhaps you don’t really like each other inside or outside of the immediate situation.
Genetics does not guarantee closeness or love between individuals. Openness, acceptance, tolerance, respect, will guarantee closeness. Our emotions dictate how we relate to others. They color every interaction. You can like some of them, hate some of them, resent some of them. You can like and not trust or visa versa. You can love and not like. It can be hard to love someone when you don’t like their actions. You can love and yet not speak in ways that are useful to enjoying each other. You can even feel all of the above at one time for one individual. Family can hurt. Love can get very convoluted. Yet, we continue to have the remarkable ability to bond with any and all other living and non living beings at any time. Pets and stuffed animals come to mind. They don’t question. They just sit there and go about life responding or not responding to us and our whims.
We were united for a moment in time. It could have been dicey. Emotions can run high and unresolved at memorial services. For a couple of hours we shared in honoring my dad. People he didn’t recognize as important to who he was were there. People he did not know he made a difference to were there. There were people who I did not know at all, or well or sort of that I would like to know more about but had no time. Maybe another time will come along. And there was family that was not there. For a number of emotional reasons. For those there, there might have been emotional stuff to put aside for those hours.
We are all in this world together. How do you value and hold others? As family and it is family that you like? As strangers who want something? As friends only united by circumstances? Do you like people, trust them to do the right thing or to take advantage? What does family mean to you? Loving, chaotic, loud, quiet, observers, demonstrative, repressive, joyous, suspicious. There are many things that family can mean. There are no rights, no wrongs here. Just how you choose to relate to those around you.
Metaphorically Speaking - Intuitive Energy Release
P.S. I will be at the Boeing Employee Parapsychology Club Expo this weekend in Kent, Washington Sat. from 10-4pm. I hope you will stop by and have some fun! Email me for details!