Monday’s Meditation: On Family
Family is a wide-reaching term, and for the purposes of this post I use the word both to refer to those individuals with whom you share lineage as well as to those people who, merely by closeness of association, become honorary family members. After all, there are circumstances when one must divorce one’s own family by blood, and create instead, a family by heart. Familial links, like all human relationships are fluid. “Related to” is certainly not a guarantee of compatibility.
But family. Isn’t it grand?
I have spoken previously here about soul mates. There is some aspect of that within families, but families are truly something special, something unique. With families, there is the sense that a group of souls have selected each other, have chosen to conduct a life as one cohesive group. And what brings those particular people together is somewhat of a mystery; we accept the presence of family in our lives based on the sheer fact that we cannot imagine life without them. Family becomes a part of us, and we of them- so much so that the borders between begin to blur. Until we realize that though we are our own, we (mercifully) belong to people.
Family makes you feel full-up with belonging. And when family gathers, the never-ending quest to strategically situate yourself in a categorical universe momentarily abates. There is a mostly intangible feeling of “rightness,” a feeling of knowing who you are and where you stand in the world that comes only by looking at those faces you know so intimately.
When family gathers so many eyes are rolled. Bickering breaks out constantly. Familiarity begets endless quips and jabs and teasing that is good-natured and otherwise. Tempers flare and irritation spikes like it does among no other company of people. No one is on their best behavior, and everyone is real.
When children grow and graduate from home, family attains an overwhelming sense of euphoria. Reunions become ripe with sentences that begin, “remember that time when…” And reliving memories feeds each family member in turn.
And so much laughter abounds. Good, hearty laughter that develops way down in the rumbling bottom of one’s stomach; that travels upwards, gaining joviality, joy, as it does, until it escapes with a gusto from one’s open mouth in bouncing, bubbly sounds that catch and spread across the room until an miniature orchestra of laughter is formed.
Family is so much like a bunch of balloons. Brightly colored, each one a distinct orb floating through the open air, they each blow this way and that. But always they are secured in place. They are joined together, their strings each looped into the formation of thick double knot at their base.Image credit: Eloise from France via Black Girl with Long Hair
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