How do you define a family?

What makes us family?

Webster’s Dictionary lists the following: a group of individuals living under one roof and usually under one head, a group of persons of common ancestry, a group of people united by certain convictions or a common affiliation.

In the age of Social Networks what we define as family is getting harder to narrow down. While some would say that family is a group of individuals of common ancestry, where does that description put  families of same-sex parents or adopted kids? Others would claim the first definition, people living under one roof, and under one head of household. Not sure this one works either. In our new Social Network society the last definition may fit best.

People united by certain convictions. While my wife and I did not have the same religious beliefs when we started dating we did share a belief that there was something more than we were told in Sunday school.

We discovered that what makes us family and who we call family is different. I have people I work with that are my best friends and I look at them as family.

But what is it that makes us believe?

What determines a family?

Is it our eye color, hair color, genetics or is it something inside us that calls out for another?

Our lives are our own. We walk through them a day at a time. Meeting new people, seeing new things. Some of them regardless of blood, we call family.

I’ve talked about my personal changes on the blog before, about how I came to be Buddhist and how my life has changed since and how in the last several years I’ve come to know myself and finally be comfortable in my skin.

When these things happened I wasn’t sure if it was for good or not. A lot of things happened that changed my life. I’ve had to be alone for parts of my spiritual journey and the only comfort I’ve had is the pages I write at night and my wife and kids.

When my journey started I wasn’t sure how far the road would take me or if I would lose people along the way. As a writer I’ve learned to look in on myself the way I do with my characters, take stock of my life. While looking in I’ve often found things I didn’t like, my temper, my like of material things and the way I’ve felt alone.

Through the teachings of Buddha I’ve learned that we all face challenges that seem insurmountable, and I’ve found peace in knowing the path I’m on is the right one.

I no longer care as much about material things and as for the loneliness, I’ve learned that it is part of being a writer. Sometimes being alone, away from those we care about is the best thing for us. It makes us realize things about ourselves we didn’t know we had to learn.

Family is whatever you want it to be. It is not set in stone. I love my genetic family, my spiritual family and my social networking family. They are all my family and being my family I cannot forsake one for the other.

Family loves us, cares for us and some times drives us mad. Finding a middle ground where we no longer feel alone, hated, or detached from our family is often hard. It feels like the end of the world when it happens, but it soon passes and we learn about them and ourselves in the process.

Being human leaves us open for error, that is one of things about being human that makes us special from other species. We have the cognitive skills to fix our mistakes, if we’re allowed to.

Oftentimes we are meant to be alone and find ourselves in our artistry. This alone time can define us and make who we are better. I believe in the power of time, and that with time we are never too far from a resolution to our mistakes.


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