Chasing Contentment

Monday, October 3

(I wrote this a few years ago in anticipation of the wedding of my brother and sister-in-law. Thankfully, most of the friends I wrote about here are still close to me.)

My brother is getting married next week to a lovely woman who has a precious child. My brother will begin his morning as a single man and by noon will have a full family. It's a big step to take for a man who never left the town he grew up in, who still sees his parents and grandparents a couple of times a week.

As I think of what to tell him about marriage and family, I am grateful that he and I are blessed with a kind and caring family that is supportive of our wishes and dreams. He'll learn the ways of his wife's family in time, and they will blend together to become an even bigger family, all living within miles of one another. Living a state away, I have a family outside of the one he and I share.

I wish for him a family that isn't tied with blood. It isn't the family he's always known but rather the one he creates for himself. The one he and his wife choose as their own. When I think of those people I turn to for the daily needs in my life, it is the friends I've learned can be better than family.

As an artist, he'll understand the idea of blending the colors of personalities into one beautiful tapestry of friendship and love. The things I've learned with age have shown me that we rarely have time for relationships that pull precious love out of you without replenishing it in some way. We don't have the time to put into brewing a fresh, new friendship now that we did when we were young, which makes our old friends so much more treasured and our new friends such little miracles.

I've known my dearest friend for more than half my life now. This woman knows me as the woman I am today but has a vivid recollection of the girl I was many years ago. She anchors my chosen family. She's a matriarch, a queen bee, a woman of revered status.

There are the women I was close with in college, who, oddly, remain close to me today, despite knowing all of my faults. Families have the distinct disadvantage of knowing where your hot spots are, where the dark sides of your spirit lie. And lovingly, they work around those, accepting you just as you are. These friends have grown with me, laughed with me, tended to my hurts and joys - siblings made along the way.

These new friends, the ones I met after I married, nurture the woman I strive to become. They listen to my worries and share in my celebrations. What an amazing gift to work with one precious friend and live next door to another. One sees my deeper, emotional needs and the other fosters my sense of fun, of sheer enjoyment.

As I get older, my family gets larger and smaller all at the same time....we add to our family as time goes on, but the bond between us gets tighter drawing us closer together.

I think of the high school boys I flirted with who have grown to be men I admire, the far away friend who holds different views than I do, the go-to-lunch friend who provides needed mid-day diversions - cousins in this family of mine.

We have friends who reaffirm who my husband and I are as a couple, friends we see in connection with our children's activities, friends who pray with us at church.

It's quite a family with people meeting different needs at different times. In this family, there are skeletons and secrets and sadness. But there is also the overwhelming feeling of love, of joy, of trust. We selected one another. Not by force or by right but by delight. Every day, we choose to remain together.

My wish for my brother as he begins this new life is that he surround himself with a family of delight, one that brings him joy, one that is created out of his own choices. My wish for myself is that maybe, just maybe, he'll choose me to be in that family, to be woven into the beautiful tapestry of his life.

[  posted by Chel on Monday, October 03, 2005  ]


What a beautiful post... there is nothing left for me to say because you've said it all. I would not be where or who I am today if it were not for the incredible family that I am daily surrounded by. Thank you for wording the feelings in my heart so beautifully!

By Blogger Dana, at 9:49 AM  

Post a Comment