The earliest definition of the word “family” means “members of a household.” Further definition states that they are related by blood or other “like qualities.”
If that's the case, and I believe it is, then my family numbers into the millions.
I understand that we have our family of origin and our family that is grown through being a spouse and a parent. The love that we receive growing up, and the love that we share with our brothers, sisters, parents, husbands, wives and children support a sense of belonging and identity. I get all that.
But that “like qualities” thing is something that gives me a sense of family much larger than I have ever imagined.
I have friends that I love. I treat them as I would my brother's and sisters. I have friends that, as they are somewhat younger, I treat as my kids.
I have met friends of my family members that have loved me since I was a child. I have met friends of my children that I have loved since they were kids. I have fond memories of friends in grammar school, high school and college the mere thought of them puts a smile on my face and warms a place in my heart like nothing I feel for anyone else. Their memory is so reachable, so close, that a mere thought of them brings them into the vision of my spirit. Their effect on me is permanent and indelible.
I have, in my adult life, become close with people that I will keep close until I'm very old and then some. They have been in my life, and I in theirs, understanding their triumphs and victories, sadness and pain. I live knowing in my heart that they will be with me always.
For it is the “like qualities” that bring us together as a family, and these qualities are adhered by one prevailing energy, the absence of which removes the sense of family from any group or relationship. And that energy is Love.
Where love exists, so lives my family. Through love, I reach into the heart of all men and women and share with them the spirit that brings us together. Through love, we become closer as one. Through love, we are able to share ourselves, and accept the sharing of others, with openness, kindness and acceptance.
We see our differences and understand them. We observe our difficulties and support them. We focus on our spirits and embrace them. Through love, we see the similarities that knit us together, acknowledging the differences with respect.
Through love, we recognize that no matter the distance, disagreements, or division by space, time, or culture, what brings us together far outnumber what pull us apart. Through love, we see the smiles in our faces, the warmth in our eyes, and the love in our hearts.
Where there is love, there is family. We are brothers and sisters in the family of Mankind. May the seeds of love be planted in your heart, and may this love expand from your spirit to the hearts of everyone, everywhere.
Love is family. And we are all One.