Families

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Thoughts are racing before the eyes of my mind like cars on a fast-moving train. I glimpse a split-second idea before another one zips by without invitation and disappears before I can blink. But most of those train cars are vaguely familiar to me because the ideas they represent have come around before . . . they keep coming around until I finally reach out and grasp one and pin it down for closer examination—much like an artist might grab a fallen leaf and pin it on a board in order to examine it closely enough to paint it.

One of those ideas concerns the family. Family of origin. Family of procreation. These are the two kinds of families that anthropologists say exist. I can’t help but place myself at the point of looking back at one and ahead at the other. My FOO (family of origin) is decreasing while my FOP (family of procreation) is increasing.

My grandparents are gone. My parents are gone. I have two sisters, a lost half-brother, an aunt, and five cousins. Time, circumstances, and choices have eroded all but one of the remaining relationships in my family of origin, and I have to be okay with that because, well, just because.

I know I am blessed in many ways because of my family of procreation. Even in my failed marriages, there is joy beyond measure because of my children. Although time, circumstances, and choices have taken their toll, relationships are being maintained—at least that is my hope. My children love me. And I dearly love my children. Ah, but now they have their own families of procreation. Therein lies the rub, as they say.

As the family of procreation emerges and grows, the family of origin becomes less and less a part of my children’s lives. From their perspective, they have a mom and a dad, but neither of us plays a major role in their lives, at least that’s the way I see it from where I stand.

So, my FOO is diminishing, and my FOP is distancing, and here I stand. If I had a spouse—the kind that had loved me and had determined to stay and grow old with me—this position I find myself in wouldn’t seem so . . . so . . . lonely? So solitary? So unnerving?

I must say, though, that the edge is somewhat blunted by the love and degree of caring I am receiving from the “grands” in my life. I have thirteen of them, and for the most part, I am an important person in their lives—at least to a degree. Yes, they are going ahead and making their own families of procreation and providing me with “greats” that I absolutely adore. But I know as they move forward, they, too, will leave me behind, increasing the distance and lessening the relationship’s importance.

The Lord established the family of origin. He ordained the way forward with procreation. As it is written and as it applies to my position, “He must increase and I must decrease.” And so it goes.

But that is not the whole picture. There is another “family” the anthropologists are unaware of. It is the family of faith (FOF). The family of faith is unchanged by time, circumstance, or choice because it is based in another reality. The love among us is unchanging and unconditional. Our new DNA unites us in unalterable ways and for an unending eternity. I have people in my past who have been to me a mother and a father in spiritual matters. I have brothers and sisters around the globe, most of whom I have not met nor will meet until we gather at the great dinner party He has planned for us. That will be some gathering.

I can long for what is not, or I can rejoice in what is as I walk and watch and listen and share my heart with whomever crosses my path. I have spent too much time on the former, so the latter is my future.

Andrea