“In the Blood” – John Mayer

Family is a big word for me. On the surface, this song is about the one that is connected by DNA. But I want to be clear from the beginning that the genealogy tree is not the whole of this moment of excavation. Most of this lesson started in a study of labels. I will always uniquely protect the people with whom I share a name, a genetic make-up and an a life commitment. These people will always be family. They get passes and forgiveness in ways that seem uncharacteristic of someone wired with my level of intolerance. They are…the blood. But that’s just a very small part of family for me. Family is the term I use for the whole of my invited humans, and the season of excavation has been a hard season for family ties.

Family (for me) is about holding space.

Family (for me) is about staying when others chose to walk away.

Family (for me) is trusting me with me.

One of the greatest pains of excavating is facing the reality that so many of my relationships (ones that I deeply valued…family) were defined by my answer to one question.

“But you are still good with Jesus, right?”

I’ve watched this mental dance on the faces of people that I adore. Ones that have been on the Protected & Defended family list. People that I know love me. Even in all of the mess. It is so logical that a passionate person like me would surround themself with other passionate people. People, that by wiring, cannot just let this one go. I love you all. And I know that it goes against everything in you to just let me be ambiguous. Because to not care is to not love well. I get it.

This particular seesaw (side note… that’s one of my new tattoos this year – an off balance seesaw on my sternum) has been a hard one for me. I’ve been forced to process the non-existent balancing act of this question. Because two very different things can be true at the same time – in most circumstances. But in some worlds, the reality of one belief negates the ability for a balance. The only option in this situation is an either/or. And in my new world order, this is no longer an option. I need room for generous questions. All of them. There is a weird beauty in the awareness. I can see why people who have loved me like family can no longer let this one hang without a defined answer. And it changes everything. Unlike anything I have ever experienced. Trust me on this one.

So what happens when the roots of so many of your family connections have changed? I mentioned that family is a big word. One that I have learned is big enough for my past, present and whatever image of family I have in 2 or 10 years. One that has grown and changed and morphed and settled and been unearthed again. And the more I really drill down to the truth, it just keeps coming back to one thing.

I choose you today.

That’s the part of family that I’m still in for. With no certainty – and all of the chaos. Who has chosen me and who have I chosen? Today. That’s family.

P.S. John Mayer came into my life during the pandemic and I’ll never be the same. Religion.

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