Family?

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“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Emma Lazarus

 

I’m not claiming to be Mother Theresa, nor the Statue of Liberty, in fact I’m a somewhat grumpy old lady who does not suffer fools gladly but…I do what I can.

 

Having studied most of the better-known religions in the world it seems to me that they boil down to “Treat others as you would like them to treat you” and that isn’t so very hard to understand. It’s why we take in abandoned animals. It’s why if I find an elderly, over-encumbered person in the supermarket, I’ll pack their bag and carry it to their car for them – one day I will BE that elderly person.

 

We have at various times thrown our house or caravan open to people who needed it for one night, several weeks or a couple of years. Why? Maybe because we are a soft-touch or perhaps we know that if the boot were on the other foot and we had no place to go we would hope that someone, anyone, would put a roof over our heads until we could sort ourselves out.

 

We had a discussion on FB about “who is family?” and we came to the conclusion that those who behave like family are your real family. The ones who would drop everything and run to your aid if you needed it, knowing full well that you’d do the same for them. What they aren’t are the people who say all the right things but when push comes to shove are too busy or find it is too inconvenient to help you out right now. That’s fine. They are possibly friends. They aren’t family.

 

I remember the old saying that if you can count your real friends on the fingers of more than one hand, you are delusional. That is possibly harsh but I’d advise you to make sure which ones you can really count on before that awful moment when you are in desperate need and have to be sure who you can turn to. It’s 3 a.m., pissing rain, you’ve lost your house and all your possessions. Think about it.

 

Me? Yes, I’ve had to jump out of the kitchen window and run barefoot down the street to escape another beating. The landlady of the local bar phoned me a taxi and hid me in her back-room with a free brandy while I waited. I was lucky that night. I did have a real friend to whom I could run and not get any more bones broken. That night….

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7 thoughts on “Family?

  1. Couldn’t agree more! I have 3 ‘sisters’. We aren’t related by blood but I know that regardless, they will never judge, give me a push up if I need one and would not bat an eyelid if I turned up at 3am piss wet through and they’d get me warm and dry without the need for an explanation unless I offered one. For the rcord, I also have a brother who I see rarely and regularly go weeks, if not months without any contact. But, I know with absolute certainty that he’d do whatever was needed, whenever it was needed. I am one very lucky lady!
    Thank you for another fabulous post.

  2. PS I also have a number of friends whom I’ll in all likelyhood never meet but we have each other’s numbers and should a listening ear, calming voice or sense of perspective required it would be there no matter what the time or situation.

  3. Food for thought and very true. I might add that sometimes, as Tennessee Williams put it ‘the kindness of strangers’ can make our day…

  4. Agree totally Ailsa. Have learnt the hard way that family are not the blood relations as they will want yours, in many cases. Real family are the friends that are there in the darkest hour. Thanks for being a real friend Ailsa.

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