I went to a funeral this week. One of my cousins. Now, that could sound a little more like an obligation than a privilege, but the cousins in my family were close. We spent nearly every holiday together when we were children. Over the years, our own expanding families and cross-country moves pulled many of us apart--both emotionally and physically--but we still stayed in touch, if less frequently.
Calls about births, marriages, and funerals still take place. This past week was no exception, beginning with the news about Gary. The phone rang several times a day. Facebook messages abounded. Texts too. Family calls are welcome—even needed—even when they wake you up at night. Sometimes tears are shared. Sometimes laughter over old memories. Sometimes just sharing travel and funeral information from one to the other.
When we meet, there are more tears. And hugs. Something I’ve learned about hugs—hug until the need is satisfied. It might be a brief cheek-touching. It might last several minutes until the crying is under control.
Hugs somehow release chemical reactions—don’t ask me how. It’s a mystery known only to God. The endorphins flow from heart to heart with comfort, encouragement, and peace.
Families and tight friendships are much the same. If you don’t have it now, go out and find it. There are others like you who need a friend or pseudo-family as much as you do.
How do you find it?
Churches are a great source. Volunteer organizations. (Never volunteered before? You have missed one of life’s greatest blessings.) Neighbors. Online groups. Twitter is okay, but I love Facebook. I’ve found old friends, lost relatives, and scads of new friends.
You don’t have to be alone unless you choose to.
The first time might be hard. After that, each time becomes easier.
Now—a word of caution. There are a few creeps “out there.” You might have already come across a few. Be oh-so-careful and wary until you know someone well. It could take some time to build up the trust.
Still—it’s doable. Go ahead. Take a chance. Find your family or make friends as close as brothers (or sisters). And may God grant you wisdom and a loving family and friends.
And may Jesus always be your best Friend and your beloved Next of Kin.