Family is not always blood

05/21/2012


My thoughts today are about how I can feel so close to those across the world yet still feel so separated from those who share my bloodline.

I laughed when Wayne Dyer shared, “Your friends are God’s way of apologizing for your family.” I was not from a close, jovial, generous family. I recall admiring a good friend from elementary school and wishing that I too could enjoy being a part of an extended Hindu family. I knew they got together every weekend (if not more) and ate together, laughed together, and played games together.

I was raised Christian in a liberal ‘United’ family. I memorized the Lord’s Prayer at a very young age and remember hiding my bedtime prayers after my mother caught me reciting them on my knees beside my bed with “What are you doing?! We’re not Catholic!” So I hopped under the covers and continued my prayer silently. She was a lovely woman and only knew what she was taught. For whatever reason I was born with a drive to learn far beyond what I was taught. I was drawn to reading the bible and learning about the word of God completely on my own. My mother noticed this about me and it means so much to me that she decided to gift me with my grandmother’s bible. My 11-years-senior sister introduced me to Wayne Dyer’s Your Erroneous Zones when she was 22 and I was 11. At 12 I discovered Jonathan Livingston Seagull and I read it over and over and over. That book made me feel normal, how I longed for a connection but felt unaccepted in my outer world. Soon afterwards I read Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor Frankl and Siddhartha by Herman Hesse. From there my reading exploded. I began to read everything I could get my hands on about Eastern philosophy, Buddhism, Native American spirituality, and more, all the while continually reading my grandmother’s bible.

When I was 13 I looked 20, due to my height and serious demeanor. I recall a pivotal day in my life when I decided to ride the bus to a neighboring town. Quite the adventure! It was an early Saturday morning, cloudy and quiet. I had no real reason for travelling other than the journey itself. While the bus trip would end in an hour and turn back at the large mall, I had already decided I’d simply head back, since malls had no appeal to me. This journey was purely for enjoying the view of looking out windows, feeling like I was a grown-up and really going somewhere, and being independent. It made my heart sing to ride that small town bus to the neighboring town.

There were only about half a dozen of us on the bus that morning. I was on the right for easier viewing of the fields and forests as we passed by. Being only a couple of rows back from the front, it was easy for me to witness a senior gentleman on the left side of the bus in a seat facing sideways ask for the time from a person in the first row, right next to him. He was so polite, ‘Sorry to bother you but if you don’t mind, what is the time?’ I was horrified that the person asked turned away and mumbled grumpily ‘I don’t know’ when I could see their watch from here! What? Really? I was shy but I knew this was a moment ‘bigger than me’. I happened to have a watch on, so I bravely stood up and walked the couple of rows forward to say ‘Excuse me?’ with a smile to this lovely senior man who had sat back down after his rude rejection, “My watch shows 8:45am. Just so you know.” His face lit up. I will remember it for the rest of my life. He burst out, ‘Thank you! Thank you very much!” with a smile that split my heart right open. Somehow I knew, even at that young age, that doing the right thing was all the reward one ever needs.

However the story doesn’t end there. When we all exited the bus (all half-dozen of us) at the Guildford Mall in Surrey BC on that quiet Saturday in 1979 I had no interest in waiting for the mall to open. I just wanted to disembark and hang around until the next bus came to return me to Langley. My new friend, the kindly senior man of East Indian descent in the snow-white robes, smiled warmly at me and asked if he could speak with me. I smiled and welcomed him to please sit.

Such were the beginnings of a pivotal conversation with a very wise old soul who recognized in me a deep kindness and reverence that he wanted to encourage. We spoke of Oneness, and Nature, and Family, and Destiny. We sat together and spoke for over four hours. I never wanted to leave his side. I felt honored and delighted and truly heard by this wise man who honestly communicated with me as an equal. He shared of his family, his children, his grandchildren, and the ones I reminded him of. He asked me my age, and after a hesitation, I shared with him the truth. He hid his surprise that my nearly 6-foot frame and wise demeanor was wrapped up in a 13-year-old shell. I remember when a hot-rod car filled with young men drove by, slowing to jeer something about ‘quit bothering that girl’ and I did not remove my gaze from his face and his story, but he stopped to ask me if I knew them… if they were friends of mine. Certainly not, I exclaimed! I would rather spend time learning with him than be anywhere else. I wish I’d got his number. He took mine though, to call my parents and tell them about what an exceptional child they had. They didn’t ‘get it’. Got worried. Scolded me. No matter. I will always remember that wonderfully wise teacher and the hours we spent together, and will forever cherish his memory.

“The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other’s life. Rarely do members of one family grow up under the same roof.” ~ Richard Bach

“Family isn’t always blood. It’s the people in your life who want you in theirs. The ones who accept you for who you are. The ones who would do anything to see you smile and who love you no matter what.” ~ http://www.atti-tude.com

33 responses to Family is not always blood

  1. 

    What an amazing story. You stumbled upon a new friend by “doing the right thing.” This world would be so much better if more people opened themselves to the otherness all around them.

    • 

      ‘Otherness’ ~ thank you for your wise comment and for using this perfect word. I am pleased that I raised my children to respect and appreciate those who have a strong accent because learning a second language is more than we have done… and English is one of the most difficult languages to learn! My embracing of Otherness is a deep part of me that I am glad I allowed my children to witness and learn from.

  2. 
    thesubterraneanworld 05/22/2012 at 2:45 am

    This was more than amazing with a tinge of bubbling sentiments 🙂
    I loved this post, hope to see more coming up from your side 🙂
    Love,
    Naima.

    • 

      Thank you Naima, your comment delights my heart and makes me smile. 🙂

      • 
        thesubterraneanworld 05/22/2012 at 6:46 am

        Your welcome Gina 🙂
        But ya are so right .. FAMILY is not always BLOOD.. like you guys who love me and respond to me are my FAMILY too.
        Love,
        Naima.

  3. 

    Gina, I loved your story. We’re often so greatly rewarded when we listen to our inner guidance. Your kindness created a spot in time that allowed for an amazing connection. Thanks so much for the reminder!

    Cathy

    • 

      Thank you Cathy for your kind comment. I like how you pointed that out, an inner urge for kindness helped create that incredible connection, a lasting memory. Thank you again, so much. Love, Gina

  4. 

    What a gift. Beautiful story.

  5. 
    Life Student 05/22/2012 at 12:23 pm

    We have read so many of the same teachers. Aren’t we blessed when serendipity leads us to personal teachers. They can be anywhere.

  6. 

    There’s so much I could relate to/comment on in relation to my experiences, maybe I’ll blog about it someday, it can be a difficult subject. Thanks for sharing that very personal story. I truly enjoy your posts.

    • 

      Your kind comment warms my heart. Thank you so much Rev Dani Lynn. I am delighted you enjoy my stories.

  7. 

    Reblogged this on A Grateful Man and commented:
    I recently discovered a wonderful blog called Professions for P.E.A.C.E. I’m re-blogging a beautiful post from it. My favorite parts of it are about her interactions with the kind elderly man and the quotes at the end of the post. GinaV and that man are remarkable; the kind of people who make my life and world better.

    • 

      Russ, I am honored and humbled at the same time. Thank you very kindly for enjoying my message in a memory enough to share it on your wise blog, and for your sweet comments in introducing it to your dear readers. You are a delightful shining light. You have certainly brightened my world!
      Blessings, Gina

  8. 
    jolynproject 05/23/2012 at 2:48 pm

    Your story is incredible. The Universe aligns us with the right people at the right moments and if this story doesn’t prove that very point, I don’t know what will. lol And woman, you were only 13? You are definitely an old soul.

    • 

      Thank you Jolyn! It was an amazing event. He was an amazing teacher! And his eyes! I never even wrote about how kind and wise they were. Heck I’ll probably write about him more… he’s a primary reason why I’ve always wanted to travel to India. And 13? Yes I could hardly wait to be out on my own (and didn’t much longer). Now I’m a happy ol’ 40-somethin’ continually amazed at how much more there is to learn.

      • 
        jolynproject 05/23/2012 at 4:55 pm

        Yeah learning is never-ending. It NEVER ends. lol As soon as you think you know, something happens that makes you question yet again which causes a lesson to happen all over again. At least that has been the experience for me.

  9. 
    Stephanie Jill Rudd 05/24/2012 at 8:56 am

    Sounds like you and I had a lot in common in childhood. Much of what you describe was what I experienced too. You never forget meetings like that-they last an absolute lifetime, and its like finding the oasis when parched with thirst isn’t it! Thankyou for this post.

    • 

      Wow that is exactly it! So well put, “like an oasis when parched for thirst”. You GET it completely. He saw that in me and took the time to share of his kind wisdom, and ask about my own. I was ‘flying’ for days WEEKS after that if you know what I mean. My heart stretched, grew bigger, because of that encounter. It helped me to KNOW that my love of God, of seeing God everywhere and in everything, IS being on the right track of a worthy journey.

  10. 

    Reblogged this on S'halom alechem and commented:
    Amazing story about a girl She used to be..amazing woman She become now..IT is truly an honor being on Her blog.Please read the rest of story and be blessed!

    • 

      Thank you so kindly for your kind words, and for reposting my story of this precious happening from my youth. I am enjoying following your blog as well, and am honored to be included on it. Gina

  11. 

    Reblogged this on Aligning With Truth and commented:
    Yes, “Family isn’t always blood” and if I may add, blood relations don’t always make family. I so resonate with this story. Often, and sadly, it is only the “duty and obligation of being a family” that makes people stay together or keep connected. I’m glad I have learned to no longer be constricted by such a limiting belief. I often get incredulous looks and responses when they learn this about me, especially my “family” who perhaps, may not truly and fully get where I’m coming from. But I owe no one any explanation.

    At age 13, during my freshman year in high school, I too read & fell in love with Jonathan Livingston Seagull, together with The Little Prince, Hope for the Flowers, The Fountainhead, and Rod McKuen’s work! I also couldn’t put down Edgar Cayce’s book on “Karma”. I was born and raised Catholic and studied in an exclusive girls’ school run by Catholic nuns yet I already knew, but not how, that Mary Magdalene and Jesus were a couple. I also knew that there was a huge disconnect between who Mary Magdalene truly was vis-a-vis the image and story that the Church painted of her. I didn’t have anyone to share that piece of information with but managed to be content with just knowing. Thank you so much Gina for this truly inspiring post and for reminding those of us who are in the same boat that we’re not alone, and we have soul brothers and sisters. Much blessings to you and your work!

  12. 

    So true! Family is not always the biologically related people. I discovered this in my experience by learning that other people besides my siblings and cousins have accepted me just the way I am. This has been liberating to me.

  13. 

    Gay people, even in today’s world, often have to take to heart and mind that family might have to be turned loose. When I was coming out, one of my favorite self-help authors was Louise Hay. She said (loosely quoted), “You didn’t have a choice which family you were born into. However, you do have a choice of which family is in your life at any given moment.” I chose.

    • 

      I adore Louise Hay and she was an early influence on me as well. I highly recommend her DVD of You Can Heal Your Life (if you haven’t seen it already) and I love how it points out how the gay community in San Francisco was where her love, healing and eventual success as an inspirational author really took off. She is a beautiful light in our world. Bless your heart for visiting my blog and sharing many comments. I look forward to returning to yours and adding more comments as well. They help make our day as bloggers, don’t they? Oh.. and like you said, I chose. Hugs! Gina

  14. 

    We both are of same kind…We will be so for ever Gina…