What does Family mean?

Our connection to our own Family remains our greatest treasure, and our greatest challenge.

Whether you choose to embrace this modern culture, and follow the values of material success, or you choose to rebel against it, and follow seemingly new values, you will almost certainly enact the same story: fleeing to another city, or even another country, in pursuit of the ghost of these values, abandoning your connection to family and your birthplace.

Why do we all seem in such agreement, that we modern people value Family least of all things? That we consider it an inconvenience, a hindrance to our goals, whether counter-cultural or not? We regard the opinions and attention of Family almost as we would an annoying mosquito.

And yet to this day, we can find people who have a much different opinion of Family, and who would die to protect it. Why?

Family holds all wealth, all health, all wholeness, and all holiness. A connection to a grass-skirted lake as a mothering being, reflects our relationship with our human mother. A connection to a windswept mountain shoulder as a fathering being, reflects our relationship with our human father. While on the hunt, to call a brown-eyed doe your sister, means you must look to your relationship with your human sister for guidance. If we see the life all around us as our relatives, then how did we first experience this, but in the embrace of Family?

And if we have left them far behind, how can we possibly embrace them anew?

Our Family tests our human skills, more than any other environment. Our ability to listen, to empathize, to forgive, to give and receive gifts, we practice these most deeply and truly with those who gave us life and walked beside us as we matured.

The care freely offered by Family comes very expensive when we seek others to provide it. Nurses, storytellers, teachers, mentors, cooks, Family filled all these roles and many more. Now that many of us have abandoned our families, we must find substitutes, often toxic ones. In the end, what can substitute for love and feeling known? Not the finest meal in the best restaurant, nor the most skilled storyteller, nor the most expert teacher. We seek family-for-hire so often it has become a way of life.

Once we begin the work of healing our tattered Family bonds, and see the first fruits of it, only then do we truly discover what it means to live in the vast community of Life, and see the kinship in all things.

Written by Willem