Sunday, September 8, 2013

The Many Definitions Of Family

Whether you realize it or not we each have many different families in our lives. Of course we all have the family we are born into, the ones with which we share the same blood (good or bad). We also have the families that we marry into (again good or bad). But we also have other families whether they be through the military, through a fraternal organization, a community service organization, or whatever other groups that we become associated with during our lives and slowly develop a bond with over time.

There is another basic group that is a little tougher which comprises of some of the close friends that you meeting during the course of your many days that you build a trust with that can only be compared to the trust that you have with a family member. These are the people, at least for me, that are probably closest to blood without being related. This is a very small group maybe the smallest of them all. These are the people that you will do anything for just like you would for someone you share your DNA with and they treat you in the same manner (essential if you are going to consider them family in the first place).

One of these friends, I will call him my Irish brother, gave me a call this past week. It had been some time since we last spoke but, as usual, we picked up the conversation as if we sat down for lunch the day before. Unfortunately, this was not a call that contained good news. No death or unemployment but it was something equally jarring (some would even say more so). Having half a continent between us, all I could do is listen and offer the little advice I had (I have never found myself in the same position).

But sometimes, like family, the best thing that you can do is be there for them. They know you’re not going to be able to fix whatever is wrong, sometimes you just have to donate your ear and offer whatever encouragement and/or perspective that you can to try and get them through the rough spot in their life. It is a time when your own issues need to be put aside and all of your focus needs to be given to your unrelated family. In the end, if you consider them family you know they would be doing the same for you.

In this instance, I did what I could and tried to keep things in perspective. Being able to see everything from the outside looking in I know he is going to be better off and his future has been opened up to many more opportunities than he had before. Sometimes something bad needs to happen in order for the best in life to be laid at your feet. I am certain that is what will happen and I am looking forward to the calls from the other end of the spectrum in the near future.

Optimism is sometimes the best cure for what ails you and this was one of those instances. And while I tend to be a realist during my daily life there is nothing that says the two can’t coexist. So I will finish this post with a very simple collection of thoughts for my friend, my Irish brother: While it is hard to see through the foggy lens of shock and mourning for what has been lost, you have the opportunity of a lifetime. You have the ability to create memories that will never suffer the degradation of time. You have life opening up in front of you with opportunities unthinkable in the past. You have a future that will allow you to shine and bask in all that this world has to offer. You have been born again (and not in the loopy religious way). Stay strong and carry on!