Family and friends what does it mean and who are they?

This prompted me to give up the social media during Lent for 40 days to find out what this means and who are these groups of people through praying to God, loving, reading, writing and eating. I had asked this question for long time since I lost 7 members of my family and never seemed to get around to finding the basic things of what nature and nurturing this could mean.

Family? – affiliated by consanguinity or through marriage, nurture, kinship, genealogy and those that you love. When you have lost those that are affiliated to you by consanguinity, who are you left with apart from my 2 daughters? Through relationship, I have the one and only that I love as my partner. The kinship part leaves me perplexed as I spent 40 days without the orthodox social media and none of my kinship looked for me or contacted me through a proper phone call or even a physical attempt to visit.

Friends? – a person you have a mutual affection, who knows you are retarded, who you laugh and cry with, the person who is there at the end of any social media or telephone call or physically available during the good and bad days. The person who has a personal regard for you and will contact you even if you have had a disagreement about things in life and will heal the wounds of life without administering any medication. This also perplexed me as I spent 40 days without the orthodox social media and I could count the number of friends that made an effort to phone me. To phone me to find out if I was alive or sick or some kind of life’s mishap had befallen me. One had to travel all the way from London with her daughter, the few others called and left messages (thank you so much those that did it, it made a difference). One thing for sure friendships can inspiring, revered and let alone influential. Despite, my life has been revered by some great long term friendships. Am I able to look wiser and give my daughters advise on friendship; friendship contains a group that is distinct and honourable in its own tradition. I have no prescription, but I know that it can break the heart with lots of tears, but tell them to look at their strengths and harmonize with the beat. 

My mum had good friends and one best friend, this best friend until I was over 21 years I did not know that she was not my aunt by kinship.  I lived in her house sometimes, I played with her kids, she was there when my mum was going though the best and worst.  Her daughters were my sisters and we helped each other until today.  When my mum was ill and knew she was dying, my mum's best friend was there collecting all the data relevant and in pursuit of their own 'rule of law' which was to stick together. They had shared memories which spanned for almost 40 years. I am still envious of that and learnt from my mum and her friend.  ".... if the mutual love of friends were to be removed from the world, there is no single house, no single state that would go on existing; even agriculture would cease to be." - Cicero (106-43 B.C)

What I found in those 40 days reflecting on my life is that I had been everybody’s friend, only a few were legit and others were in limbo. I had my energised my life searching, loving and giving the energy to that that I call friendship and family just to fill the void of having lost 7 members of my family within 12 years. I was what other friends and family would call the organiser, the doer and the one who looked after everybody else but had very little people looking after me. I am the one in my family/friends who makes the effort to physically visit people at their homes. With those that I called family I would remember the birthdays, the arm of reaching out and helping financially, moral, love etc. I became “my mother” and have since paid a big price with that. I am not perfect as a family member or as a friend but I still have the desire to save. I am not done yet and the experience itself is an opportunity to assuage my growth and I know the towering God is conscious in me.  With my so called family what I now know is the meaning of family. This is your sister or brother born of same mother or father. I was not in anywhere part of that big family that I had created all my life. I wanted to be, so I did things to be accepted in the "family" and hence felt loved. I was becoming my mother because I had learnt a lot from her loving others. I wanted to fill that void of having lost my family, my 4 brothers and looked for it in other people’s families and called them my "family." When I fell ill 7 years ago, I found the family which God created for me, home away from home. Those I could understand the pain without judging me but praying with me. At home my hands are full when my eldest daughter can sit down with me and question religion as the cause of all evil but still believes in the Almighty.  My youngest still wondering which church will fulfil her teenage quench for the word of God. My partner now into Joel Osteen buying his books and leveraging the quotes with his own personal life.  The dog wondering why there is so much love to him from everybody. At work, finally it opened up the story of every person you see walking in the street; never take life for granted because the mind is a powerful tool, infused together with the past it can lead to an atomic bomb waiting to explode.

I asked myself that if their own sister or brother would have stayed for 40 days missing on the radar, would they have just sat back and not knocked on their door. The bible opened the doors to my questions, the books that I so much missed when I was academically studying opened the windows, the listening to my feelings and standing still helped me to reflect. The gym gave me the energy to exhale. The food and different recipes I tried gave me the feel good nature and it nurtured me. The days when I spent with my children and my partner showed me the bigger picture of love and being loved. I had the family right with me, I had the friends’ right with me, and I had a wholesome family and did not need to look any further. I had God, the Almighty who loved me unconditionally, who had given me another life and had given me not once but twice a chance to live and love again. I am simply not in the same league.  I realised my personal notoriety is forgiveness and to be forgiven, not to let things drag me into being incapacitated.  I am still that journey who is at peace with my past.

The agenda for self-cultivation had been set by my parents, something I appreciate as a good quality, the quality of mercy: “It blesseth him that gives and him that takes” This might sound naively idealistic, but there is a place for idealism in my life and I intend to see this through as I enter through another phase of my life with self-awareness. I have a dream and I intend to live the journey of achieving that dream with passionate conviction. I will break the challenges down into smaller challenges, which I could get on with in my methodical fashion. Life is an experience in growth. To all those who have always given that love and support thank you. Somebody I knew for a short time during a project for women identified this quote as a pinnacle of who I am “We are born to manifest the glory of God that is within us… it is not just in some of us. It is in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same – Marianne Williamson.

I have learnt that things may have happened to me but the only things that really count are the things that happen in you.  We can't control what happens to us.  But we can control what we think about what happens and what we are thinking is our life at any particular moment. Thus in a crisis be pre-prayered. God will not fail anyone because in all of us there is the power of goodness and the evil that might come through selfishness, pride ego, jealous, resentfulness, hating and the worst in our humanity is the concealment of the good that is within us.

I am enjoying being with Amnesty International again and the political campaign which I will fill you up next on the blog Face of Change - Alinyana2Alice.  Love, Peace and God bless.

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