Close can be comfortable
and close can be uncomfortable.
Knit together in our mother’s wombs,
we emerge and…
the fabric of the family holds us tight.
Loved and cherished from a young age,
we feel close-knit and strongly supported.
Or the opposite.
Abused, neglected or abandoned in childhood,
we can feel frayed at the edges,
unravelled at key points,
at loose ends in the world.
The wider family is a similar mystery,
offering comfort and discomfort,
sometimes in equal measure.
The loving uncle who is always there for you,
the aunt with the nasty racist comments,
the happy family reunions,
the feuding cousins who never speak,
the children who visit or don’t visit,
the words that are spoken or not spoken.
Even the dead relatives refuse to rest,
haunting or blessing our memories.
We come to God with different prayers,
some saying thank you for a good and perfect gift from above,
others looking for deliverance, and a freedom from heavy burdens.
Satisfied or swamped, the question for us all is exactly the same,
whispered every day in our ear by a God who loves us;
“What kind of relative will you be today?”