The other night I had something on television and heard the phrase, "the family you make for yourself." It jumped out at me at the time and I'm still thinking about it a week or so later. Of course, it's not a concept unique to that show, but for some reason it struck me then.
I'm blessed to have a wonderful family I was born into, and I've been incredibly fortunate with the family I've made for myself. I've always been choosy about who is in my life. I think because I witnessed from a young age how much that impacts your life and the lives of those around you. Everything has a ripple effect. If your world is full of people who thrive on drama you will never have a moment's peace. If your world is full of people who are overly cautious about everything you will rarely have a moment of adventure. It's all about finding the mix that suits you. I like some adventure but I can do without much drama.
I thought about how much others were affected by my surgery. Of course, there was nothing I could do about it, but I thought about it nonetheless. While it was hard to think I was making life difficult for those around me, it was a great comfort to have those who matter to me nearby - in person, by phone, by note, by any means. It was a genuine comfort.
When one is on the other side of that equation there's something very special about that. It's good to know your presence or skill or attention is needed - that you are needed - that you have something positive to offer to the situation. Often there's not much you can actually do, but the mere fact that you're willing to do anything that arises says something about the relationship you have. Even if you are not called on that particular time, you know you are part of a family that has been "made" and it's a comfort - more to you than the person in "need" sometimes.
Ultimately, we are all part of families people have made for themselves. Sometimes that's the result of marriage or childbirth, sometimes association, sometimes friendship that goes beyond "friend." However it happens, it's these bonds that hold our lives together, our communities together, and our societies together.