…or the emotional chaos.
The holiday season is one of the few times that brings out the best & worst in people simultaneously. The news is full of negativity, there are protests, hunger, abuse….but for one season of time we long to have ‘peace on earth and goodwill towards men’. This is the one time of year that we would hope to be around the love of friends….but most of all the love of Family.
I’ve come to terms with the fact that I have a huge family that I really don’t know. They hail from both my Mother’s and Father’s sides of the family. I am even blessed to have an extended family my step-mom’s side that has embraced me with loving arms. Of all the love, the family that I barely know used to bother me, would even create some emotional chaos. Watching he families on TV get together for holidays, sharing in the special events of one another’s lives, coming together in rough time….it made me see family the way I wanted it to be. But that’s television….
The reality is that I have 3 types of family. My core of family members where we are active in one another’s lives, close-distant relatives and my non-blood relatives. Close distant relatives live close but our relationship is so distant that we didn’t know one another. My non-blood relatives (extended family) are those who love me and mine regardless. The extended family love, embrace, care, pray, and are supportive …without any biological ties whatsoever. We used to call them ‘play cousins’ and label them Aunt/Uncle as a sign of love, reverence and respect but as I’ve gotten older. I call them….Family.
As my children got older I pressed on them that we have a large family that love and care for us. I would tell them about the cookouts gone by, the reunions I’ve attended and the many corners of the world that they can go and call on family. I didn’t want them to feel detached, apart and rejected by blood. I didn’t want my past baggage of fractured family situations to influence how they walked in the world. I wanted them to know they are cut from the cloth of a loving, intelligent, noble fabric with traditions, heritage, history and strength. The Family. I didn’t want my sons & daughters to think they needed to part of any group, club or unhealthy relationship to find love, acceptance or to fit into something big because they are already connected to the best…..Family.
One day I woke up with my eyes wide open and tired. Tired of feeling that I had to continuously prove to others my value and worth. Tired of justifying to my children missed celebrations, or blinking back alone tears in times of trouble. Tired of working to create the family circle I wanted with those who did or didn’t realize what was going on with one another without the luxury of Facebook updates. After a few efforts to construct, formulate and rally my view of family, I ran out of energy. It was then that I decided to emotionally invest in, grow relationship and continue to love those who do the same with me. Instead of investing time in this exercise in futility, I looked around and saw my Family.
The liberating peace that has come from detaching from the chaos. To take time to embrace me and realize that I’m worth it to those who want to have relationship with me….flaws and all. To know that I am free from feeling like I need to belong but accept those who are accepting. The love that flowed from just a simple sentence from a cousins lips on a rough day. The love of a friend’s family that always treats me and mine like we are one of their own. The blessing of my family that loves me. This is the love that is illuminated over the holidays. When I sat back and came to this understanding it lessened my view of the chaos, dreams and ideology of Family when I looked out at the world from Under My Brim.