Soul Food

I define family as many things. Mostly, for me family is the connection. Like the undefined colours in a dusky sky, these connections have nuances of unconditional love. Family can be the people you have collected, in your life, your tribe, that truly care for you and your well-being, who are invested in you on an emotional level. Family is not only biological, it’s based on this invisible bond that you have with the people in your life. Meaning, you have a limitless resource in who you consider family.

I am fortunate enough to be apart of a large family, biologically speaking, via marriage and via other networks, be it friendships or connections from unlikely places even. I count myself as one of the lucky ones. As the years have gone by I have managed to stay close, however, life does happen. As the family units have expanded, people have moved, meaning that logistics and daily life have creeped in, where you don’t really see each other all the time. Your interactions are based primarily on scheduled events and whether it’s a baby shower, birthday or wedding, you’re extremely grateful for these as this means you DO get to see each other and spend time. These occurrences allow you to interact and stay in contact and remain close. These occurrences reiterate that the bonds that have been built during childhood and growing up, or as the relationship progressed, are strong and they have this forever element in them.

On the biological front, for the past few years we have been discussing (over Whatsapp) about having a family reunion. It’s something we have been always talked about but never actioned. Until all of a sudden people were responding and contributing to the planning of this day. The logistics are always a schlep. It’s one of those things that are a little tedious in the run up to it but Alhamdulillah everything came together beautifully.

As the day dawned, none of us could have anticipated the warm fuzzy high that accompanied this day. It was a jam-packed day, we had activities, like playing ball games, running around with the kids, board games and food galore. A slide-show of old photos backed by sentimental music was the feature, where we collectively went down memory lane with our moms and dads. It was heartwarming hearing them retell their story and relish in sharing our family history with their children and grandchildren. The love was radiating off of everybody on this day.

It’s funny that this connection you have with these people, in whichever way they entered your life, is so much more, means so much more than we give it credit for. Sometimes we are blinded by the hustle and bustle of life. Until, you spend that time together. Recently, at another cousin’s wedding, whom we hadn’t seen for a really long time, we got to spend this time. Time being the thing that is needed to foster bonds. Time, the thing we never have for each other. This time spent together was so precious, the sense of family, togetherness and celebration was so warm and uplifting. My siblings and I took tremendous delight in every moment. I wish I could bottle up that feeling for… you know… those days‘. Those days when things are just overbearing! Like say all Monday’s 🙂

This feeling that these moments produce is soul food. It’s the stuff that heals when you’re a little broken. These kinds of memories and moments remind me that I have all these people scattered across my life from childhood to now. Some people have shared big moments in my life and others little moments, some have drifted and others you see all the time but one thing that remains the same, is they do choose you. The bond and the closeness is enough to want to share their time, which is the actual limited resource. When people choose you to be the one they spend their time with, this is what really counts.

What a privilege this simple thing called family can be. All the kinds of family that you have. This kind of support system cannot be manufactured. It cannot be contained in a Ted Talk or guide-book to life. It’s something that is intrinsically a part of the fibre of your being. This kind of support system allows you to be more, to have more, to feel more, to belong more.

That sense of belonging and nurturing is something invaluable we should never disregard, it has allowed you to develop and grow into the person that you are and now with your own little people who you are responsible for. You now have the means to create a safe, loving, nurturing environment for them to develop these same bonds with their little cousins and friends. Sometimes you might even consider this thing called family, a burden. So many people interested in your business, so many opinions to influence your decisions, so many family things to attend but in fact as it turns out, these people, who you are connected to on various levels, are always, always there for you, just as you are there and should be there for them. So let’s embrace our mad, loving, crazy, dysfunctional families for all that they are and feed our hearts with these bonds that will last forever.

I love you neither with my heart nor with my mind. My heart might stop, my mind can forget. I love you with my Soul because my soul never stops or forgets.     – Rumi

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