This post is one of the few that will be dedicated to anyone. In this instance, this post is dedicated to my family who through thick and thin, with all of the things that happen, continue to show me that the ties that bind aren't always physical. Sometimes, they are simply digital.
-Kevin M. Williams
I have a family.
That's not exactly a shocker. It's not like I hatched from an egg or I was grown in an incubation chamber. But I'm speaking about a specific family. The family that I interact with on a daily basis. The family that I share my joy and sorrow, my fears and hopes. My dreams for the future. It is this family that I speak of that are most interested and vested in this project. The people in this group are not my only family. I have four distinct sets. My mother's side, father's side, step mother and step father all have a cadre of people that are related through blood and marriage. The family that I am speaking about, that I am writing this in regards to, the one that talking about are not related to me by any of that. However, we are related to each other in the feelings that we have.
There are no legal documents, no birth certificates that join us, only the bonds that have been forged through laughter and sorrow. And it is at times like this that sometimes, we must be reminded of the things that make a family a family. Sometimes, it's easy to call a person a brother when things are going well. When life's a breeze, it's never hard to find people that are willing to ride that boat with you. It is not these moments that define a family, just as it is not just the good times that make up a friendship or the good days that constitute a business or the warm nights alone that define a relationship. Truth be told, those moments are the rewards of the times that actually define these inter-personal encounters. It's the bad days , the long nights and the fights that strengthen and define these moments because it is only in the face of adversity that we realize what's really important, what we're willing to fight for, lie for and die for.
My digital family is not unlike my blood and paper family. Our encounters are not strictly across a digital media as these are people that I have all met in person long before we began to interact across a an endless stream of ones and zeroes. And this family that I speak of is dysfunctional, not unlike the families that we all have independent of each other. We all have our flaws, our own issues, our personal demons that we wrestle with day in and day out. But the thing that makes this family special is that despite the fact that our bond is not of blood and paper, but of data and decisions that we still are there for each other. And more importantly, that we chose to be a family. You usually can't choose your family but these people we did.
Now, before I go any further, to any member of my real family who reads this, please do not be offended or upset that I am writing this about a group of people who are not actually related to me. My blood and paper families have their own set of issues that I must address but truth be told, I know that you will always be my family and although I don't always say this, I appreciate each and every one of you, although I may not always know exactly how to show it. My life and the person that I have become thus far is a direct result of each and every one of you, for better or worse. So please, remember that as you read this.
I write this to the family that has the choice to leave. After all, eventually, data will be lost and decisions can be regretted but blood is blood and until death or divorce, marriage is forever.
To my family, the one that I call the COD family and those others with whom the only bond that I share is that of friendship, I write this to each of you and hope that when you read this, if you read this, that you take these words to heart as that is where they come from. I love you all, as though you were my own brothers and sisters. And although we all have our flaws and problems, we will always be there for each other. We as a family will never leave you in your moment of need, or abandon you when you are at your lowest as has happened in the blood and paper families that we have come from and seen. We all have someone in our real family that for whatever reason, has chosen to not try to make our lives as easy as they we would have liked or purposefully done something to hurt us. I wish that it weren't so, but it is the simple truth. But within my small family of friends, it doesn't have to be so. Make the effort to be a part of each others lives, even in matters as small as conversation. Sometimes, the silence in a room weighs heavily.
To each and every one of you, please remember this: Although we all have our own families, at the end of the day, it may be the case that all we have is each other. Never hesitate to come to us with your problems and don't feel as though it's a burden to us. We can't help or even understand if we don't know. We may not always be able to fix your problems, but in our own unique ways, we can help lessen the burden even if it's just doing our best to take your mind off the issues at hand to give your weary and battered mind the time it need to connect the dots itself. We all need to try to make the effort to not spend all of our time so wrapped up in other things and just take the time to talk to one another, even if it's only during the drive home, the walk to work, in between matches or just whenever something happens that reminds us of one of our family members, the act of making conversation can be therapeutic not just for the person you call, but the person who makes that call. Sometimes letting someone know that you're thinking about them is enough to get them through a day. A thought is priceless but the don't cost a thing so spend more time sharing them.
Because at the end of the day, we've all needed that support at some point and we've all given that same support that we've received. And who know where we may be when we need someone to stand beside us in the face of adversity or in that moment that changes our lives. The little things in life just are worth having without family and I'm proud to call each and every one of you that read this my family.