Scrolling through friends’ posts on Facebook, I came across one that peaked my interest. My friend relayed a story from their point of view that had to do with memories of their father. Apparently, the stories hit a nerve with this friend’s family because they took it wrong. What strong emotions our family elicits!
I don’t have a strong relationship with my biologic family; not one like I want for Jenny and the boys and I. I feel like a fish egg. I was planted on a sandy-bottomed river only to be left behind by parents who had their own plans for their lives. Left to my own life, I have had people describe my upbringing as being raised by wolves. I don’t know what that means because wolves stick together in their pack. I got used to providing sustenance for adults (only the first fish metaphor); I brought home groceries a lot after I took my first job. This may seem like paying my way, but I felt like it took advantage of my nature (my responsibility-for-the-world complex). Maybe my feelings were taken out of context just like my friends’, but had my family acted more like a family then I wouldn’t have felt like this.
Maybe if we had spent more time together, I wouldn’t have felt like I was swimming upstream all my adult life (Couldn’t help it). It’s these facts that make me want to spend an over-exaggerated amount of time with my kids. Hopefully, if we spend so much time together, then they will gloss over the parts that I wasn’t so happy that my kindergartener made the trip to the principal’s office 3 times in one day! Maybe they’ll look back at their lives and feel the same feelings that I feel about the people who stepped into the hole that my family left. There were so many people, who had an influence on my life that cannot be denied, and if they had not, I would not be the man that I am today. My “Adoptive” family made it possible for me to deal with the tough situations that appeared for newlyweds, who stepped it up and taught me the value of being at the river, and the ones who were with me when I ran into the dam instead of going over it (Keep going or is it cheesy now). As my friend Jake tells me when things get rough, “We may have to kick our shoes off and dig in with our toenails so we can gain inches, but we will get forward progress. We may not gain yards, but forward progress is what we’re going to achieve together.”
So what has this got to do with fish? Fish swim upstream better when they have someone beside them (and in front of them and behind them) to help push them up the current. We face life better when we have a support system to beat the currents of our life. Family is important and this time of the year brings lots of chaos, but we all need to remember our family comes first. Life can throw all kinds of trash down the river, but if we have a strong family, we can weather whatever comes. Make time to get outdoors and appreciate what God has given to us. May the season be good to all. Merry Christmas and peace be to all this holiday season.