Day 22:: Relationship

Orange Color Day 22

“God and Family Above ALL Else.” — rkh

Since the end of World War II, there have been studies made and books written on the crippling and disappearance of faith and religious practices in society. Since the late 1960s and the Women’s Movement of the 1970s, there have been studies conducted, books published, and documentaries filmed on the castration and disintegration of the family.

And somewhere along the decades that have passed since, the phenomenon of substituting friends for family began to emerge. Let’s review. It is one thing to make friends your family when you, in fact, have no family of your own to claim. It is quite another to choose your friends over your actual, real family.

There was a time when I,  a young, single mother, allowed my children to call good friends “Aunt” and “Uncle,” as well as to address my good friends’ mother as “Grandma.” I had grown up the only child of my father. My father was an only child who had been put into foster care by his unwed mother. My paternal grandmother had been an orphan, adopted and raised as the only child of an older German couple living in Detroit, Michigan. There had never been any contact with my biological mother, or maternal family, once custody of me was granted to my father. I went to live with my father when I was five-years-old and when he died I became, basically, an orphan at fourteen. Eventually I came to Southern California and made a life here. As the years and decades passed, members of my maternal family began to emerge and make contact, but it was never a particularly stong connection for obvious reasons — distance on both the map and in relationship. So, it was reasonable that I would consider good friends as family.

But as my mother and my sister {from her second marriage} started connecting with me more frequently, even though it was “on” and “off” again, the reality was that I had family — and family trumps friends when it comes to consideration and alliances.

Orange Door 23

“When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things.”

— 1 Corinthians 13:11

Relationship. It’s easy to say, but hard to execute. If it were a simple endeavor, all families would be close and everyone would be friends, forever. Relationship is the golden nugget of life — and,like miners, we have to work hard, continually swirling water through the mud, to find it. No miner became rich by giving up and walking away. No miner became rich by admiring someone else’s gold. And yet, that is exactly what we do when we begin to substitute our family with friends. We are attempting to become rich in relationship by walking away from the gold mine and admiring someone else’s gold.

Orange House by Layne Cook
Orange House by Layne Cook

If you truly believe in the value of family, then you have to value your family. Holding onto the past, harboring grudges, being unforgiving towards family — these are all childish ways. You cannot be both a child {with family} and an adult {with friends} and consider yourself a positive person, a modern thinker, a practicing Christian.

I have always believed in God. I have always believed that family is worth fighting for. I have always believed that friends should be tended and cared for deeply. The transition from an emotional child to a cognitive adult is not always easy, but it is both enriching and fulfilling. Relationships will never be perfect, because although we are made in His image, we are still just human.

It’s easy to make, rationalize, or reason an excuse into existence for not making family first, but in the end it’s nothing more than that — an excuse.

I have stood, and still stand, behind all of these beliefs. My faith in God has never wavered. I fight passionately to keep my family together. I care and keep contact with my friends. Relationship and rank work in unison: God, family, friends.

God told us that we would have many trials and tribulations in this life. Family is one of our primary challenges. Love is our armor. Prayer, Endurance and Forgiveness are our weapons.

“Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” — 1 Corinthians 17:7

And it begins with family.

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