Who’s my Family?

I have been thinking about Family today, and about my children and grandchildren.
I was thinking about how different each child is, their different ages and stages in life. Thinking about the one child who still lives with us, and the others who live far away.
Some we talk to almost every day, some very rarely.
But these are still all our children that I love and care for so very deeply.
Sometimes excepting the different stages and situations in their lives can be difficult. But it never diminishes my love, caring or compassion for them. Acceptance and understanding is the wisdom I have gained from getting older, and also from my practice. And this is the real meaning of love, to love and accept them unconditionally. Through their highs and lows, good decisions and bad ones, to simply love them.
I can only hope that my children will love me in this way also.

Then I started thinking about who else is my Family.
I truly consider the Monks and Nun of Blue Lotus Temple as my Family. And I have made many new friends in the past year that I now consider Family as well. Some are young people, and one is 89 years old who I adopted as a Dad.
I am so very blessed to have my Family, and for my Family to be growing all the time.

Then I thought about the people of Japan. Are they my Family?
Why aren’t they my Family? Because I have not met them in person?
Well, many of the people that I consider Family today, I did not know a year ago. But today I feel so much love for each of them.
So I realize, these people in Japan are absolutely my Family. We simply have not yet met in person.
And my Family members in Japan are suffering so much, and so many are lost or have died.
I can not detach from this reality anymore than I could if it were a blood relative.
Mindfully, I try to not be overwhelmed by sadness. But mindfully I am aware of their suffering and feel completely connected.

So perhaps you will think about your Family today a little, and consider who is really in your Family.
Love them, accept them, care for them as best you can.
Each and every one of them is a precious gift.
Be thankful for this day, this life, this Family.

May you be well, happy and peaceful.