Monday, March 5, 2007

Friends and Family

I was raised in a very peculiar family in some ways. There are many members of my family who aren’t blood relatives. Growing up I never understood it when people referred to someone as their “step-brother” or if someone was to say “my friends and my family mean a lot to me.” But as I grow older (and it pains me to type that word “old”) I see this more often and I think to myself, “would the world be any better if everyone treated there friends as their family?” I always do. Given, I’m closer to some of my friends than others as many people are closer to some members of their family, but is it really necessary to distinguish the two? Why is family more important than friendship? Don’t many of us spend as much time with our friends as our families if not more? I was eleven- ears old when I found out my Aunt Mary wasn’t my moms blood sister and when my moms actual blood sister told me this I was confused as to why it mattered. She began stating that many people treat others differently because they share the same blood (this statement sounds kind of off because she was talking to an eleven year old) but our family don’t see things that way and don’t you every forget that. So I haven’t.

So I’ve taken this ideology into many of my friendships and have confused many friends because their family don’t see things that way. I’m not saying that my friends treat their family like gold and friends like trash but some of them can’t bring themselves to see the two entities on the same level. Honestly I don’t have the slightest clue why. After all aren’t we all brothers and sisters under the sun? I went to a church event with one of my friends and as we were leaving one of the members said, “you all look so nice together, are you all family?” I without giving it much thought said “yes” and my friend countered saying “no” and introducing members of her family and then introduced her friends. It kind of knocked me back for a second and then I had to think about it and say OK, I forgot. Kind of the same thing happened a few months later when the same friend visited my home church and my mother who’s one of the ministers introduced my friend as her daughter.

Some might call this whole arrangement silly and others might think that it’s a better way of living… I don’t know you choose. I love the way my family put the two together. I believe the closer we see each other the better we will treat one another. As soon as we start putting up restrictions, the more distant we’ll feel…but that’s just my opinion. I’m sure many people have lived long happy lives with their separation between friends and family (he he…in case you didn’t notice I was playing with separation between church and state!…OK I’m done) but try out my way and see don’t it work better.

Seek Peace

1 comment:

Teresa said...

The ability to feel "kinship" with others is a gift, and one that is not distributed evenly throughout humanity.

Sadly, it is stunted in some people.

I was talking with a co-worker once and I made referance to my neice. She said "I didn't know your sister had any children." I said "I have seven friends that are like my sisters".

She was deeply offended at the idea, accused me of not valuing the "sacredness" of family, and actually shunned me afterwards, only talking to me when she had to for her job.

*shrug* I feel bad for her that she can't understand my view of life. I'm sure she feels badly that I am somehow missing out on the way she feels.

But I think this speaks to why most people also can't understand the issues and needs of other groups of people as well...valuing the needs of their own group above the needs of others and the ability to be uncompromisingly unsympathetic to each other's issues in conflict.