Family is one of those topics that usually reveals one of multiple reactions; a shudder and cringe, a distant yet warm hearted smile, a smirk when thinking of quirky Uncle Billy, or an uncontrollable heart of gratitude – and everything in between. The very notion of “family” has so many different connotations these days that it is hard to even write about such, thus I can simply write from my own experiences.
My family in a matter of words is; dysfunctional, forgiving, loud, loving, broken, inappropriate and quite honestly “unique”. Our weekly dinners are filled with laughter, political satire, tears, the pushing of conversational boundaries, great food and even better wine (and have been so for many many years). Is our family perfect? Goodness me … if only you knew! The short answer to that is no! Is it filled with imperfect and broken people who love each other as best they know how? I hope so. Do we get it right every time? Absolutely not!
But that is what family is, isn’t it? People who know you better than anyone, have the ability to aggravate and infuriate you beyond what you ever dreamt possible, hold the power to hurt and disarm you in an instant … but also those whom are there for you regardless of what life throws at you… those who would drop everything to be there for you in your time of need.
Please hear my heart, I am not so ignorant to think that everyone is lucky enough to have a superbly dysfunctional family like mine – many of those closest to me have stories I cannot even fathom… but regardless of your story, I know that there are those in your world whom you consider to be your family… Those friends who are your chosen family – you know the ones … the people you instantly think of when you want to celebrate your birthday, or relax on a Friday night, those whom are there when everyone else walks out, the sporting mates who know more about you than they probably should, the colleagues who you spend more of your day with than there is daylight, or those family- friends who are so a part of the furniture and who aren’t as much friends as they are tenderly known as “Aunty Helen” or “Uncle Rob”. “Family” today is not only what you make it but who you make it.
The scope of whom I consider my “family” has enlarged considerably in recent years... Life has a way of doing that; it makes you endure certain experiences, with people who come alongside you at just the right time (faith tells me that in these circumstances, there is someone out there looking out for me, but that’s just me! J). These people fast become your sanctuary and security, people whom walk with you through some of life’s hardest (and greatest!) seasons.
Not taking away from the significance of your biological family, it is simply “different”.
As life continues, many family members walk different paths and end up in very different destinations to their siblings and loved ones … and that is ok! We are all different and on different journey’s. They key is to love – without restriction or prejudice – and even if they make choices you necessarily wouldn’t. To forgive quickly and ask for such even quicker.
I am thankful for my biological family; for their love that is unwavering (and ultimately) undeserved. But I am too thankful for those whom I choose to walk this journey of life with – both equally as significant, yet different to the other.
“There are friends, there is family, and then there are those friends who become family.”
Who are those whom you consider to be your family (whether biological or chosen)?
Have you told them lately how grateful you are for them? Can we encourage you to do so … life can change in an instant … don’t let today pass without telling those in your world that you love them.
By Angelica Klein-Boonscate