This quote is in honour of Family Day which we are celebrating today in Ontario, Canada.
Family can be a pretty complicated place sometimes. It is a body made up of a group of disparate people who happen to share the same blood and heritage. When parents bring wanted children into the world, they tend to have expectations of what those children will look like when they grow up, who they will be. Perhaps we forget that each person is a unique being with his/her own personality, temperament, way of processing and interpreting life experiences.
We are from the same family, but we are not identical in our thoughts, character, or responses to situations. Sometimes that can cause friction. If we are wise, we will try to put ourselves in the other person's shoes to attain a better understanding. We will respect our differences and continue to show love and care for one another. We will agree to disagree.
Let's be real: families aren't perfect. Were they meant to be? They're where we learn to do life, to relate, to stretch and grow beyond our own ways and our own thoughts. We don't get to choose the members of our family, but I believe God puts the right mix of individuals together because we have things to teach and learn from one another. Family can be messy but a mess can become a masterpiece if the right tools are applied.
I love my family. I trust that God decided these are the best people for me to be around and that there's a reason why they don't look just like me. Sometimes it's true that we're "trying to figure out the common thread that [binds] us all together," but ultimately we are bound together by the love that says "blood is thicker than water." (And yes, I'm familiar with an addition to the quote that says "love is thicker than blood.") I will always be there for my family and I hope they will always be there for me.
The following has made the rounds on Facebook, so I think I am safe in sharing it here:
We are shaped by the families we grow up in. We are shaped by the partners we choose and the families we create. I think at a certain stage we all have a tendency to blame our parents for our difficulties and issues, but the older I get and the more life experience I have, the more I believe the above to be true. Our parents had every intention of being great, good, and grand, but they did the best they knew how with the resources, knowledge and experience they had, and some days all they could be was okay.
Some days all I can be is okay. The grace I want my children to extend to me is the same grace I need to extend to my parents. The world will be a better place if we all show a little more understanding and compassion.
Happy Family Day, friends.