Call it a Family
Photo, thanks to Robert-Collins at Unsplash
Call it a clan, call it a network,
call it a tribe, call it a family.
Whatever you call it, whoever
you are, you need one.
-Jane Howard (Thanks also to Gratefulness.org)
Much of the time, at least until tragedy strikes, we can take “our clans” for granted. When life surprises us with a disruption, we are often startled into noticing how essential and beloved our clans are. We see them with fresh eyes, as if for the first time.
So many “other” problems drop away as we focus our attention on what is important, and are reminded of how much we count on each other. No way that we can hurtle through life on our own.
When this little reflection arrived in my inbox, this morning, I was struck by the truth of what the word family implies. I found it beautifully expressed and so true – the many combinations that make up a “family.”
We all have them. For some it is our birth family; friends; spiritual community; volunteer work; book clubs; the arts; sports; neighbours; support groups; special interest groups and so many more. We all need more than one group we can count on.
Important On-line Groups
Nowadays, we can have important groups on line. It is amazing to me when a small group gathers with a sincere intention and interest, how much we can learn together, as well as the support we can glean, when facing challenging times.
This is on my mind even as COVID-19, creates self-isolation and enforced quarantine in its fast moving path. I have made simple and basic preparations for that possibility and as I did I thought about how even in isolation we can have the comfort and companionship of seeing our loved ones through a myriad of online apps, including FaceTime, Skype, Whatsapp and Zoom, to name but a few.
On-line is not a substitute for face to face hand holding. However, when people undergo stem cell transplants and other immune-compromising procedures they are kept isolated for their own protection. As they begin to recover and want contact, online visits with family and friends can provide a boost, with no fear of contamination. This is a huge upside of technology.
A Daily Blog
When I kept a daily blog, while going through treatment for cancer, I found the practice of posting a picture, writing a few words and reading the comments from my friends and family, healing. It provided me with a clear purpose to look for the joyful moments while acknowledging the painful ones. I got to keep my various clans up to date and their words brought me comfort, laughter, reassurance and encouragement even though we were many miles apart. I was inspired by the power of their word gifts to me as we shared stories with each other.
It was during this time that I had a realization that contradicted my life long belief. I had appreciated, was grateful for, and considered my good health to be the most important thing in my life. I came to see that as important as good health is, it isn’t the most important. Family and friends loomed larger for me. And this truth infuses my personal operating system every second of the day. Each of us will encounter sickness, old age (if we live long enough) and death and to have our many extensions of friends and family ready and willing to be there through it all, makes all the difference.
It is our encounters with the people in our life, friends and strangers alike, that make our lives worth living. They are there for us and we for them. They are our treasures and gifts of this wondrous and mysterious life.
We need each other and we are here to help and be helped. A mutually beneficial cycle that nudges us along in times of difficulty and showers us with bouquets of joyful moments throughout it all.
Note 1:) A practical note first. Many places have run out of the recommended alcohol hand cleanser. Here is an easy recipe to make your own.
Note 2:) A friend and colleague sent me this Ted Talk two days ago. It is an excellent talk on resilience, about 16 minutes long. Dr Lucy Hone is a resilience expert who thought she found her calling supporting people to recover following the Christchurch earthquake. She had no idea that her personal journey was about to take her to a far more difficult place. In this powerful and courageous talk, she shares the three strategies that got her through an unimaginable tragedy—and offers a profound insight on human suffering. Dr Hone is a director of the New Zealand Institute of Wellbeing & Resilience, a research associate at AUT University, a published academic researcher, best-selling author.
Note 3:) A treasure came my way this evening. The poet is Ruth Bidgood, a Welsh poet and local historian. She wrote this poem in her 90’s and is now 97.
No need to wonder what heron-haunted lake lay in the other valley,
or regret the songs of the forest I chose not to traverse.
No need to ask where other roads might have led,
since they led elsewhere;
for nowhere but this here and now
is my true destination.
The river is gentle in the soft evening,
and all the steps of my life have brought me home
Note 4:) Many many thanks for popping by. Showing up here each Wednesday to write this blog, lifts my spirits. It is an honour to have these weekly visits with you. May you have many memorable moments this week. Appreciatively, Trudy
PS For my dear subscribers: My email delivery service AWeber ran into technical difficulties this evening, so I have been unable to access their site to send this out. They are diligently working on the problem and have been very helpful. I have decided to accept their offer (thanks Matt at AWeber) to send it out for me. You may notice that the images are not available on the email, so it looks a little different, but hopefully it will land safely in your inbox as always.
I love your blogs. I am always pleasantly surprised when I see your email in my inbox.
Very timely as Jim and I were discussing how we feel like we’re self quarantined. Him with his low immune and me concerned I’ll bring something home from the grocery store. Neighbors are in the same position. The weather has been inclimate so we feel isolated. Even from family and our grandchildren. Yes, thankful for FaceTime! Our granddaughter misses us too.
Thank you so appreciate the poem.
Excellent blog mom and the Ted Talk is Amazing!!!!!!!
I love this message! You are truly a treasure and a gift of this wondrous and mysterious life – thank you for the work you do.
I’m so grateful to have you as part of my family
Dearest Trudy, you are an important part of my chosen family. I am still in wonder and gratitude at how you came into my life. This “Roads’ poem is exquisite, feels like a keeper. Just like you 🙂 xoxoxox
Thank you Trudy, a good reminder to be more of an active ingredient to cultivate a clan. And yes, that Ted Talk, pretty well sums up your perspective 🙂
Dear Trudy, thank you for you post/message. Just the last week in our support group we were talking about people who support us – one of participants was telling us about her reflection after seeing the movie “The Farewell” (have you seen it?), she was very upset because she didn’t have a family to support her like in the movie and this is how this theme came out. We need to be reminded to appreciate those around us and even if we don’t have a family we have friends and neighbours and participants in the online groups, we need to see who is in our clan 🙂 You are a dear part of my family, thank you for that! with love, Jiun