A Family of Strangers

by rubenharris

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Losing family causes us to find family. It may not be flesh and blood but the ties are no less strong. It is in sadness that we find and need comfort. It is in comfort that true family is made manifest. It is through this true family that we cope with the loss of the original family. Family needs not be part of a genealogical tree, but rather part of our hearts and systems of reliance and comfort and coalescence. We need to understand that it is family that makes us who we are—it is our environments that create us, that mold us.

Why does losing family hurt so much? It is because we see it as a special part of the unity we had leave our lives. This special part is not dependant upon others; it is the others that make up the special part, yes, but that special part exists whether or not those who fill it leave or not. It is unity that makes a family, not the members therein. The hardest part of understanding this special part is to understand that it is not the people that make it. The same as it is not the clouds that make the sky, although they fill its breadth often to completion, the sky exists without them—it is the atmosphere that makes the sky; if the clouds dissipated, the sky could always be filled over again. The same as it is not the fish that make up the ocean, although they fill its depth often in a glorious rainbow of diversity that seems to fill the ocean to capacity—it is the water that makes the ocean; if the fish dissipated, the ocean could always be repopulated. This is how it is with family; it is not the specific people that make up the family, although they fill the heart with inter-reliance, joviality, and trust—it is unity that makes the family; if a one of the family were to die, or were to turn against the others, or were to move away forever, the unity between the remaining family members (and those who are added) endures.

Therefore, family without unity is not a family at all, because the family is the unity, not the members. This is a hard concept to grasp because it seems so impersonal, uncaring, and cold. However, were family to be based on the members only, than one could use the word family to mean any number of lesser relationships. But it is in unity that family is based and therefore is dependent upon there first being unity in order for there to ever exist family.

In the love that is found in between family members we see the unity. Mafiosos had families as the main construct of their regimes because it is in the unity that is formed by the members of the whole that creates the security and construct needed to run such an organization. Organized crime thrived because they used the unity of family to support negative ideas. What would happen if we expanded our concepts of family to concentrate on the unity: a unity that is perfectly capable of including those not of flesh and blood and to then use it to support positive ideas? What if we used this unity to coalesce and, as did the mafiosos, trust and rely upon one another fully and without restraint or mercy, demanding the reciprocation of that unity? We could change society as certainly as the clock strikes midnight.

The family that matters most is our blood family—we have spent the majority of our lives with them. However, even though this family is extremely important, we cannot simply allow family to stop at this level. Imagine the level of potency any organization, be it an entire society or even an organized crime group, could attain if they saw one another as family—if they united together and stayed true to that unity. Imagine what would happen if we had unity across the globe: if our world was a family. It sounds impossible, idealistic, and idiotic, but through the eyes of the child is the world seen as it should be; through the eyes of the child does society actually make sense. Children do not use motive, selfishness, and personal gain—at least they used to not. Family, to the child, does not stop at blood. We should see unity in those around us, in those we trust, and learn to trust others and to be trustworthy.

Our society is a family… were we to have unity. If we unite and have the common purpose of reformation and social betterment, leaving the immorality of the mafiosos behind, then we will be a family. From the perspective of a nation, the function of family is to maintain were maintaining is required and to change where change is required. I challenge you to find unity not only in blood, but also in the family that does not show up in your family tree, because every step towards trust is a step away from negligence, every step towards unity is a step away from dilapidation, and every step towards family is a step away from social decay.  Change of the whole starts with the change of the parts.

Adam T. Wamack – A Young Influence
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