It’s my niece’s upcoming wedding that compels me to write about this. On this sleepless early morning of Father’s Day 2012, I recall my brother being “brotherly” when I was a teen; trying to make me appreciate the sense of compound interest, being fiscally intelligent and responsible.
“Jeez, yeah, I get it, Cal…”, which I did in a conceptual way, being a smart kid. Regretfully, my smart ass side didn’t _appreciate_ it, didn’t appreciate _him_.
So, thoughts of me sitting on a branch of the family tree: frankly, at times, I feel _somewhat_ alone (me and Sarah); Dad’s dead, Calvin’s dead. I’m clearly _not_ alone: I have a healthy and loving relationship with my Mom (after we cleared up decade’s-long misunderstandings); a clean and healthy relationship with Sarah’s mom, too; a very quiet relation with my step-daughter; loving relations with my distant cousins and step-mother; a loving-albeit-distant relation with my nieces and nephews (all four of them); and a vibrant, loving “family” of community brothers and sisters.
Yeah, it feels good to think of us all as being all one big family here on Earth. I truly hold that to be close to my heart, yet I see and feel the reality of it. I do share deep devotion and commitment with certain friends, but not with all my friends. Most are wonderfully close, very intimate (we are very vulnerable with one another; even some I’ve never met in person), and many will I expect last the rest of my lifetime; my heartfelt gratitude to those who, this past decade, showed me how to have healthy relationships.
But when I turn towards what I feel emanating in waves from my nieces and nephews of my (deceased) brother’s family (two women, the second about to marry, their kids and spouses, and a young man in my nephew), I sense a strong core of deep, intense love, and I can’t help but attribute that to the sense of family that my brother and his wife built. As many of you know, there’s an intangible thing that comes so freely between siblings and many family members, that sense of commitment and devotion because “they’re blood”.
To be clear, I’m not thinking about myself here. For whatever reason, I’m introduced to many people who have far less than I do. My point is this…
Value one another, especially those that you might seem to get “for free”. For one thing, like with my brother and father, they may leave this life far too soon. For another, that _thing_ that you have with your loved ones, if you _know_ what I’m talking about, cherish it, work at it, build it up, and don’t let it wilt, wither, and die. Those bonds of commitment and devotion did not come out of thin air; they came from persistent choices, day-in-and-day-out, from some one, some couple, some group.
Please, if you choose to, pay attention to it, love it, learn about it, figure it out, and live it heartily.