I’ve put off writing this blog for a while largely because I’ve been afraid. Afraid I wouldn’t capture the nuance of this properly or being judged.
However, I think this enterprise is valuable so I’ll forge ahead in unpacking these ideas as best as I can. I ask for your grace and patience as this might be a tiny bit rambly.
(And, frankly, I wrote a tune about this so it’s not like I can hide from it either)
On my latest work is a song called “Love Runs Thicker Than Blood.” Contained in the lyrics are some meditations on my history and my journey out of it. The song is about family and deconstructing our conceptions about what “family” means.
Growing up in the evangelical church, I, along with many others, was socialized to believe that “family” (defined as the quintessential “nuclear family”, blood relations and all of that) was so deeply important to God and any deviation to this was tantamount to blasphemy. I would argue that this idea is not limited to the church though. There are tons of shame-based ideas surrounding family that float around in popular culture as well.
So I put this question to all of you: What happens when “family” isn’t a safe place?
There’s a ton of shame, especially within church spaces, for people who have to disengage from their blood family due to abuse and toxicity. If I had a dollar for every misinterpretation of “honour thy father and mother”….well you get the idea.
My journey away from toxicity and abuse and into healing and hope has radically reshaped my definition of family.
To me, family is about love not DNA.
It’s about the people who choose each other and form bonds of love and friendship.
For those of you who share a similar journey to me, I see you and send you lots of love and solidarity.
For those who haven’t walked through this, I just want to invite you to have grace for people and be willing to broaden your definition of what family can be.