“Blood is thicker than water, but Love is thicker than Blood.”~ Garth Brooks
Recently many of my friends have asked what defines a family. Yes, some of this is in light of the debates around marriage rights. Others are estranged from their “blood” and are searching for ways to connect with other people. This question piqued my interest and I began asking my own questions about who is “family” in my life.
I often joke about the 7 circles of friendship I created in order to manage my social media. One platform gives me the option of “friends” or “acquaintances” as well as creating custom lists. I started my quest for answers by looking at how I had assigned the people I know on this platform. Interestingly enough, only three of my “blood” appear in my “family” list. The remainders are people I have met and gotten to know well enough that I’m comfortable sharing things with them. How did that happen?
Searching deeper into my motives for assigning people, I found that my comfort level of sharing personal information seemed to guide me in how I created my lists. So does that mean I’m not comfortable with my “blood?” After further consideration, I decided that was not the case. Rather, I’m more comfortable sharing things with people I have strong, consistent relationships with, whether in real life or via social media.
As I reflected on this nugget of information the realization that relationships are what makes us family dawned on me. Regardless of how people came into my life, their willingness to accept me for who I am and to build relationships with me placed them closer to my “inner circle” than other people. Don’t get me wrong, I care about all the people in my life. It’s just that some people have expressed a desire to stay connected while others have allowed the relationship to become one-sided. Sometimes I’m the one who made that decision.
In the end, I believe that Love is what makes us family. That deep feeling of fullness that other people bring into our lives is the kind of Love that binds us. It is this Love that helps us stick together through all the bumpy patches of life. How we find that kind of Love is the stuff that stories are made of. Many people have touched my life and I’m proud to call them friends. Those who have stayed in my life, working with me to bind ourselves together, are my family. We may not share our upbringings, “blood” or traditional family roots, but we have each other now and that is what keeps us strong.