Saturday, May 15, 2010

Intentional Families

There are all kinds of intentional families.

Service clubs, like Rotary and Lions, were part of our response to the increased isolation that paradoxically occurs when city populations reach a certain mass.

Interestingly, women’s clubs -- started in the mid to late 1800s – were the forces behind many ‘civilizing’ changes, such as libraries and juvenile courts. They gave power to the non-yet-franchised and places where women would be listened to … with respect.

Alcoholics Anonymous, and other ‘twelve step’ programs, become family for participants. The kind of family that enables survival, even transformation.

Transformation – or at least personal acknowledgement – can be provided by congregations – of any faith.

And who can discount “Cheers” – ‘where everybody knows your name.’

Isn’t that what we are looking for? Personal acknowledgement, support, people who listen to us and laugh with us?

One way or another, through work or worship or efforts on behalf of a particular cause, we find ways to connect. And if we are not interested in ‘organized’ connections, then we create, as Kerrie commented, networks of friends.

I am wary of cyber-networks but they work for some. And it is nice to open my email to find a message from someone I worked with in Cape Town and another from my grand niece in Denver.

It’s even nicer to sit around a table and share personal news and fears and a corny but slightly bawdy joke that you would not tell just anyone.

Eventually, and sometimes it just takes growing up, we realize that no man – or woman – is an island. We are all part of the vast web of our species – related to each other in ways deeper than those mere accidents of race, religion, geography or culture that too often separate us. And that we too often use as excuses to avoid connections.

What Lincoln warned about a ‘house divided’ is still true – not just of our country, but of our planet. The survival of our species may require us to acknowledge that we are all in this together.

So, if you don’t have a family (or you don’t like the one you have) find one, create one.


No comments:

Post a Comment