I got a call from my niece this morning to tell me something I posted on Facebook meant something other than what I understood it to mean. It was something I did not know – but she sure did. And she was calling to rescue me from my stunning cultural ignorance. The funny thing is that her parents and my parents were all in the room for this call – and they took great delight that I said something I did not understand. I could hear the chuckles and guffaws through the phone. (Hint: it was something sexual that I inadvertently copied from a friend without knowing the full meaning). The funniest part was the laughter of all of them as my niece schooled me. It was a hoot. My 70+ year old parents were laughing that I did not know something like this. And I am sitting here half way across the country wondering – how the heck did they know? It just struck me as ironic. I laughed about it for a long while.
Family can be hysterical – and it has been as a hoot in the midst of drama many times in my life. It can be a gift – and has been so many times in my life when my family came to my rescue or celebrated with me a great victory. It can be messy – and it has been when my family and I have not been on the same page about who I am and who they thought I was. It can be enlightening – and it has been as a light in the darkness at times in my life. Family can also be hard to define – and it has been with both my family of origin and with my family of choice but I love all of them.
We are all born within a biological family and sometimes those family connections can be very painful. I know some folks who continue to struggle with issues from their family of origin. I am pained by their suffering. I pray for their healing. I also know folks – like myself – who have had a pretty wonderful experience of family. I am not saying we have always had it easy – I have two sisters with whom I have had arguments with over the years. I have parents who have not always agreed with my decisions and I have not always been happy with theirs either. And I have not always been pleased with how my family reacted to things happening in my life. A Norman Rockwell Family - we ain't!!
But guess what – they have been there for me. I have been amazingly blessed by the Creator with family of origin and family of choice. They have been as supportive as I could realistically hope for. They have had my back. They have loved me anyway (a favorite expression of my Mom and Dad). They are my family and I will defend them to the bitter end. They would do the same thing for me – at the drop of a hat. And that has made all the difference.
Yes – family is messy no matter how you define it. My prayer for all is that they find family – either by birth or by choice that they can love and who will love them back.
It will be messy – I promise. But I would rather have a messy family than none at all. Thanks for the journey, family. I love you all!