As I begin this blog and sit musing about how thankful I am for my family, some thoughts come to mind. Namely, that to have a family is a tremendous gift. Yet, in various ways, ‘family’ has become such a twisted mess for much of the world.
Family dynamics are constantly undergoing changes, additions and losses are coming through deaths and marriages… Families are never perfect, and some are perhaps, more emotionally taxing than others.
In the western world, the family nucleus of father, mother, siblings, grandparents, aunts and uncles is not so simple any longer. Families are split by divorce, multiple divorces, same sex partnerships, and any other combination you can think of.
In many ‘third world’ countries, families have undergone disruption as well. Not through weakened family values, but through ravages of war and terrorism. Orphanages fill with abandoned children in poor countries; wandering, orphaned children in war torn countries.
Appreciating family is not about the abundance of amiable relationships. If you are from a deeply broken home, it’s not even about who is or is not a part of your life. Those things may or may not be within your control. If your family is all far away, it’s not about proximity either. Appreciating family is really focusing in on the positive relationships in your life and recognizing those as blessings!
I have my family of husband, son, and daughter, right here with me – what a blessing they are to me! My extended family, however, is far away, spread across the U.S. That is not always easy for me. So, I too, have to stop and remember the blessing of my family when I’m not always able to be a part of the daily relationships.