Family. History. It matters.
I have the great fortune of four parents who have influenced my life, and I appreciate all their love and endurance, frankly, in loving me. It hasn’t always been smooth, but we have landed on our feet.
I have two creative, smart and nurturing mothers. They are both very funny too. My mom and my brothers have grown up laughing until it hurts, alongside learning how to live. For this I am grateful.
I have two intellectual, tall and kind fathers. Both of whom gave me away at my wedding to my beautiful wife. They love and care for their families and I’ve seen them both model commitment to family and I appreciate them for that.
All four of them, at different times, have broken my heart, disappointed me, and lifted me out of my own hurt by showing me love. I am CERTAIN, that I have also broken their hearts, disappointed them, and hopefully, provided strength in each of their lives too. Understanding this mutuality is critical to healing relationships.
I know how lucky I am to have my parents around. I know how lucky I am that we have all continued the hard work of coming back to the conversation when walls have been built. And peeked around it. I know how lucky I am to have parts of each of them in me.
The stories I tell are touched by moments with these people, but the stories I tell are mine. If you asked each of them to tell their version of the same moments that I recall, it may be a very different account. This is because we are all different. We see the world through the eyes of our own experience which leads to our individual belief system.
When we learn this and find the willingness to communicate, or in the very least demonstrate, living with unconditional love - we stay connected.
For many years I turned to strangers in recovery to become my family because the most urgent need I had was to be understood. I found a fellowship of people who shared many of my own experiences in life and we were able to walk, for the most part, non-judgmentally with one another through the grief and the joy of growing up and away from alcohol as a solution to my problems.
Family might share blood.
Family might not share blood.
When we find difference, I hope you will honor my experience and the way I see things. In turn, I benefit by being willing to honor your experience and consider the way you see things.
What do we have in common? Let’s start there. With commonalities as an anchor and love as a guide we can rebuild the many bridges burned among each other. (I know how flowery that sounds, but LOVE is a powerful force. I’m not talking valentines and cuddles. I’m talking about AGAPE. Look it up.)
Family needs an anchor and we must choose the guide we point ourselves toward.
Humanity is the family.
Love is the guide.
It starts with me choosing that. And you choosing that. And all of us learning to practice that. It will take time. It will hurt and be difficult. But Love finds a way.
Family is where the connections are, where the investments are, where the growth takes place. Family is the conversation we continue to come back to. For me, I needed to look at my own belief system and acknowledge the things, that I held as true, that stand between me and you.
I needed to learn that TRUTH is greater than that which I believe. That if we believe different things, we don't have to argue about right and wrong, we can thank each other for expanding the definition of what is True.
Gandhi said there is no God higher than TRUTH. That feels right to me. It also tells me that I am not capable of knowing THE TRUTH on my own. I need you. I can listen to the path you’ve walked and the way you see the world. I can acknowledge your journey and recognize your joy and your sorrow. I grow my understanding of TRUTH to be much larger than I can ever understand. I can see it in your eyes that what you say is true. To you.
I choose to honor your journey and care for you in my response. Especially when it makes me uncomfortable because I disagree. I honor you.
P.S. I know I ramble and dart all over the place when I think. I'm working on it. I am a work in progress. We all are. Challenge yourself - rather than taking what's wrong with the structure of my blog, ask yourself what sticks with you. Then, ask yourself why.