We Are Family

We Are Family

A song, my mom says, that she like the words to, in response to a tweet/post I made earlier this morning. Not a bad thought for this morning.

It seems to be the rage to test our DNA and show where our heritage originates. Well, maybe its accurate, and maybe not. It is surprising to learn the stories of old, you know, those stories of the past about family, culture and special names and places you are told about your history – well, they may be true, or not. For years I’ve been told that I have American Indian heritage. Mom’s DNA does not prove this to be true. My sister tested her’s … Ditto.

So, my thought this morning is not about the “what” of our past, or even the “who”. It’s about the “where”…

Where is the truth of our past?

Genetics may show the broad sweep of our past, and it may show that I’m not adopted and a true son of my parents, but it does not show me the specific path to the first man or first woman. Genetic tests point to areas where specific groups of people rooted and populated, and maybe my test will show I’m from a part of Eastern Europe, or Scandinavian, or Africa… Still, in a sense that we are all genetically marked to show our roots, those roots came from somewhere else.

it behooves me to agree that we all come from the same source. It matters little the ethnicity, race, culture, country, or holler… (And there is a Gurley Hollow, TN)… we are all connected somewhere in our past to the very beginning of the human race. There may be a name connection to my present last name, but with all the marriages that happens between family names, it’s a wonder that we don’t simply trace back to Family A and Family B.

On my first trip to Israel I asked our guide, who happened to be a life long Israeli who fought in the 6 Day War back in 1967, “Do you know which tribe of Israel you are out of?” He said, “No. All that information has been lost over time. We were dispersed across the face of the earth and none of us truly know our heritage.” I’m not sure genetic testing would help him, but imagine being this honest about your roots. “I don’t know.”

Well, inquiring minds want to know. Even if it’s not that important. Why? We are Family.

Our genetics may point to certain traits that we’ve inherited, but we also know that these marks can be totally different from child to child from the same host parents. Tall, short, big, small, light, dark… and these are just the outside appearances. Our dispositions, health scores, talents and skills, well, they all come from the same pool of genetics.

All of this tells me we are one big family with a lot of identity and philosophical problems on the borders and at the heart. Perhaps we should all learn the words to the song, “We Are Family”…

Maybe my disposition and interest are different than yours, but I do know some things about myself. I’m interested in you, who you are, where you come from, where you were born, why did you become who you are today. Why? We are family, and I’m just now discovering our connection! Time and again these conversations point to the small planet we inhabit and our roots are intertwined.

  • One lady and I had a conversation at church. She used to go to Texas as a child to spend time with her grandparents. Come to find out she knew the same people I knew that lived just across the shell gravel street in South Houston.
  • Another lady commented about my accent (in Washington state) and come to find out she rented a house from my brother’s father-in-law family and sent her kids the church my brother pastors.

This is why I like to talk with people! You find such interesting connections. It is truly a small place we inhabit and we are truly connected somewhere in our past!

I can stand at the coffee bar and hold a conversation with a complete stranger and feel just at home as if I were talking to my sister. Why? We are family.

I can strike up a conversation with a Houston Police Officer who is standing duty in a phone store at Baybrook Mall. She’s like my daughter (in age), and if we are conscious of the fact that she does not have my skin color – well, it does not matter…we are family.

That’s why I feel the liberty to test the waters of conversation with just about anybody (any lines I draw have something to do with timing and criminality (!!)). We are family.

I’m a complete believer in this thought. If we would only take the time to talk with one another, and get to know something about the other, it would make fighting hard. It will point out our own frailties and the reason why we need each other so much.

One last thought. If we were to look at each other as family, it may change the way we think about each other. It may be hard to have a true fight if we remember we are all siblings in a great big world. Differences will arise. Someone will be right, and others wrong. Some will never see the connection and continue to be that black sheep of the family, but if the rest of us would live like family …

Why? We are family.