I knew when I signed up for this challenge that it would not be easy for me to keep up. I am a busy gal. I was ready to give up, being two letters behind already. That’s one thing about me: I tend to over-commit myself.
But then a dear friend asked me why I wasn’t posting my alphabet blogs every day. I explained I’d gotten behind, and her reply was, “Oh…I was really looking forward to those!”
Sometimes I forget that there are a few people who actually read my writing. And maybe they like it? So I guess I should really try to do better at keeping up with my blogging challenge.
That being said, I’m combining F, G, & H into one post, both to get myself caught up and because they all fit into what’s on my mind and on my heart today.
Families change over time. I can look back on my childhood, and what I would have considered my family back then is worlds away from what I consider my family to be now. Back then, my family was a title exclusively reserved for the people related to me by blood: aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, etc.
As the world changes, the definition and picture of what a family looks like has changed too. In a lot of ways, this is a great thing. My family has changed immeasurably over the last ten years. Divorces have happened. People have moved away. Family members have passed away, some expectedly, some unexpectedly. It changes you. It changes your relationships. It causes some connections to become stronger and others to fade away. At first, the changes sting. Those people who you thought would always be there suddenly aren’t, and it’s hard to adjust.
But over time, your true family shows. The family that God has provided to help you weather the storm. For me, this family includes blood relations, but it also includes wonderful friends. And I consider them my family. We share holidays, celebrations, pain, successes, and failures together. We’ve been bound together by a set of shared experiences unique to us and to our relationship.
Grief is one of these shared experiences. Recently, a few friends and students have lost dear members of their families. My heart aches for them and searches for the words to bring comfort. I find none. Through my own experiences, I know what not to say: “I know how you feel.” No one knows how you feel. No one knows the relationship that you had with that person and the aching void that their absence, either physical or emotional, has left in your life.
I’ve lost a lot in my 31 years of life. I don’t want pity, but I think I’ve lost more family members than most people my age. But I’ve gained so many. Grief has brought us together, strengthened us, and created a new family. And we have time and again brought one another out of the darkness and into the light.
That is the true meaning of family. Those people who lift us out of the darkness when we stumble and who we would do the same for in return. Those who are there in our grief to comfort us and help us heal. Those who are there when we succeed and when we fail. And I am so thankful for the amazing family I have. I couldn’t imagine any better group of people to do life with.
I’m taking the April A to Z Blogging Challenge. Find out more at http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com