Matthew 12:47-50: Then one said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee.But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren?And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren!For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.
This season in my life finds me thinking a lot about family. And friends. And how the two mix and mingle and blend and get all mushed up together until I can’t tell who I’m related to by blood and who I’m related to by something more.
After my dad died 2 years ago I realized how much family means. We really were never that close and yet there was this huge hole in my life. I don’t know if it’s shared experiences, being born and growing up with these people, or something else that makes that tie so strong. All I know was I was taken aback by my deep feelings of grief and loss when I lost my dad, and I know those feelings run strongly for my mom and brother and sisters and their families. Feelings that aren’t rooted in the amount of time spent together or even a depth of relationship, but something more that’s just deep down inside.
And then come the in-laws. I depend on MM’s mom and dad as the foremost help, both physically with my kids and prayerfully with any issues. And yet sometimes I still feel like an out-law. I’m accepted and cared for and helped, but there is a barrier there that I will never be able to cross on this side of heaven. And sometimes that is incredibly hard for me because in a lot of ways my in-laws are closer than my parents were/are. But I will never be “their child” (like how they might refer to MM as “their son” and as me as “his wife”) and whatever happens in our married life or in the lives of our Littles, there will always be an impenetrable wall of “not a blood relation.” What I most desire is to be loved, and what I often feel is that I’m tolerated.
I have good friends whom I love and who love me. And in many ways I view them as closer than my blood-family. They are the ones I reach out to when I have problems or need comfort.
There are those friends who I view as brothers, and yet there is a barrier there because I cannot, for obvious reasons, meet my “brother” for lunch and a chat like I could my blood-brother. Yet in every real sense these “brothers” are brothers, and a tryst with them would be unthinkable in the same realm as with my blood-brother, but a real conversation or “hanging out session” can never happen.
And even with sisters, we have family obligations that keep us from “family.” “No, mom. I can’t celebrate Christmas with you because I’m going to celebrate it with my ‘real’ family.” You can imagine how well that would go over, for both my “sisters” and my sisters.
I guess the purpose of all these mushed-up relationships where we can’t get past a barrier to be closer to our friend-family or in-law-family is to make us desire heaven where there will be no barriers. Our friends will be family in every real sense, and we’ll be able to enjoy relationships with both sexes. And our blood-family, with whatever issues they may have, will be as close as our friend-family.