As an only child coming from a home in which my parents separated when I was six, my notion of family was probably askew from most of my friends.
By the time I was a young adolescent, the cousins with whom I had grown up and I had grown apart.
And by the time I was 40, my father passed away and my evil stepmother took me out of my father’s estate which instantly severed my step family whom I had enjoyed for over 20 years. My son is my pride and joy and I love him with everything I’ve got. I was so fortunate to adopt him at birth 28 years ago. He and my mom are really my only viable immediate biological family. Everything else has disappeared over time except for one thing: The giant family that I have amassed during my time walking on planet earth.
I discovered a secret at a very early age and that was that you can bring people into your life who you love like a family member and they become part of your family.
You do not necessarily know where they come from and you most certainly do not know when you meet them but there is something unspoken and incredibly valuable about feeling this way about another person.
Neil Armstrong said, “Every human has a finite number of heartbeats and I do not intend to waste any of mine.” I think the incredible value of bringing someone whom you treasure into your heart is incalculable.
The joy that they bring into your life adds so much depth and so much innate pleasure as to defy description.
Over my lifetime, I have added numerous people, of various age ranges, to my family. To assign traditional family nomenclature to our relationships, ultimately delivers less value in a word than what their true value ultimately brings to my life. I think beyond worrying whether someone fills a specific role in your life, we are best served by recognizing that deep heart connection that we feel for them and we should continuously make them feel as treasured as our hearts genuinely feel.
Life is very short and it is populated with so many variables to navigate. Having people in our lives whom we treasure is perhaps the greatest of all wealth we can accrue in our short time in this physical three dimensions.
Taking time to make each and everyone of them feel the special love that you feel in your heart for them is imperative as a valuable citizen on this hurtling ball of fire orbiting the sun.
Hundreds of millions of years ago, our ball of fire started to cool and ultimately create this garden of Eden that we are living upon. It has taken that long to make something of this exquisite magnitude. (Or a few thousand years if you opt for the explanation in the Bible.)
In my discussions with others it has become readily apparent that there are many like me or who do not have the large family to retreat into. Those of us who have longed for those feelings have found ways to bond with others in deep and meaningful fashion.
The value of mostly going it alone is that you very quickly learn to stand on your own two feet. Conversely, the downside of going it alone is that you are the one standing there on your own two feet wishing there were a few others to back you up.
I find it interesting that when I try and explain to someone about another person in my life and I use a familial nomenclature, they seem to quickly get confused as if you couldn’t have that relationship unless it was biological. I think the secret to this is an open and discerning heart. (As I write this, I turned the corner and watched a father loading his three little children into a car to go to school. There is the proverbial model.) ❤️
If you start with the premise that love is infinite and your ability to love one human being does not decrease the amount of love that you feel for another, it is easy to see how an open heart facilitates bringing the right candidates of deep value and importance into your life.
I noticed after my father passed away that I started gravitating to friendships with men who are older than me and whose values and ideologies I respected. They could never replace my father, but they gave me a sense of warmth that there was someone senior to me with whom I was desirous of bonding with.
Conversely, when I encounter a much younger mind who seeks a similar dynamic with me, I try to remain very open to understanding their needs and to facilitate part of what they are seeking in life.
I would sum all of this up simply: family is determined by the heart. Biology unquestionably casts the first tier of characters into your life and from that point forward, we as individuals, are fully empowered to add to that list from resources in our world as they make themselves known to us. There are so many people who have needs beyond what they show. A secret to being a valuable, sentient human being is to remain aware that others have problems and issues that they wish that they could solve. Perhaps we have those solutions on tap in our reservoir of resources and perhaps we could grow richer by giving some of that away with all the love in our heart.