Today is Friendship Day!
“When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.”
— Henri J.M. Nouwen (The Road to Daybreak: A Spiritual Journey)
There’s an old adage “You can choose your friends but you can’t choose your family.” I find that to be pretty amusing because I believe that you can, and I do. I have a small circle of friends that have proven throughout the years to be my own insular family unit!
At some point in time somebody, somewhere came up with the narrow-minded belief that family is most important because they are your blood. I am all for family members being more important but in no sense do I believe that you can’t choose who those members are. I am almost certain that there is not one family in this world that is not screwed up in its own way. You can not always depend on these blood relatives let alone even be able to stand them at times.
Even though I believe that you can pick your family, I don’t want it to seem like I am against sticking with the family you were born with. The way I see it is you start off as this bright red apple on your family tree. As time goes by things happen that change the fate of that apple on the tree. You either develop a close relationship with those related to you and you remain that shiny red apple or butt heads with those people long enough that one day that you as the apple start to shrivel up and fall off that tree completely. That’s the point were choosing your family becomes an option.
I am the shriveled-up apple that fell to the ground. I come from a particularly large family and as unfortunate as it is I can only count on one hand how many of those people I am actually close with. The reality is that if any two people are going to have a falling out or be betrayed by one another it is going to be family members. It is more likely for them to be caught in a highly stressful or traumatic situation that would force them to become hostile and tear apart from one another.
From my own experience, it is the people that I am not related to that I am able to get along with best. Not only get along with but be able to trust and depend on. As much as I would love to be able to be close with my ‘blood family’ that is not a possibility for me. Sadly, I have never been on the best of terms with them and though sometimes it is difficult I do my best to never let it get to me. Instead I choose to focus on the few people that I consider my ‘family’ because I am really fortunate to have them in my life. My fiends are the family I choose for myself…♥