Here is what I see when I dream of my loves and family.
There’s some property. I am but one of the owners. I live there. So do my loves and friends. Their loves and friends live there too. Some people share a Great House, with others living in little cottages and outbuildings scattered about. Sometimes people go out to eat, sometimes they eat alone in their cottages, but there is always a gathering of sorts around the diner table. There is always a great cook, happy to provide, feeling fulfilled making this many people happy. There are always happy children, squawking about their day. There are those that set up, or clean up, happy to be free of the responsibility of creating the meal. There are people, eating together, joining together, because they want to.
While people do have personal belongings and personal spaces, there is an air of sharing and support. There is but one ¾ ton pickup truck, one 28foot ladder, one wood chipper, one tractor, and one large well-stocked workshop, one of many things that a family needs – you get the idea.
There are children, some of them are mine and some are not. Some are grown and some are not. All the children are children of the great family, if not in legal terms, but in familial terms. There are grandparents to maybe great grandkids. Any child can go to any adult about anything. We are Family.
There are family gatherings and traditions with roots reaching deep into the bedrock of the lives of those involved in this Chosen Family. Thanksgiving takes on a whole new meaning and size, with days long festivities, and people returning home from across the globe. Hanukah is celebrated, along with Christmas and Yule and…it’s an insane and happy time of the year.
No one is ever alone unless by choice. No one is ever without love and assistance, except by choice. No one is ever unsupported, unless they ask to do something alone.
I have been described, more than once, by more than one, as a patriarch of a family, who gathers loved ones around a core to celebrate and support each other in a chosen and rather extended family. I don’t know if that description fits. When I hear the word I envision some old rich guy, gray of hair, slightly fat of physique, holding court on some daytime soap opera. It also speaks to me of some kind of “top dog” where I am number one, where others bow to my superior status or respect me more than others. I don’t like that image either.
However, maybe in bits and pieces, it’s not that far off in some ways, so I don’t reject it entirely. Maybe I’m here to be bedrock of sorts, building a family of sorts, a place where people can feel welcome, loved, and respected, regardless of any artificial status they may feel or that others attempt to impose upon them.
Hence my fantasy as described above.
It’s not going to happen, though.
Upon first glance, this may seem like a defeat, a failure, or something to grasp desperately, or attempt to force the universe to create. It may seem like focusing on the goal of that dream would be key, but it would grasp at people, attempt to make them something that they cannot be (even if they wished it), and eventually drive them away. That would not only make no sense. It would be disastrous.
In the greater scheme of things, it honestly matters not that my particular dream come true in this particular form.
Here are some examples why.
My life is full of false starts, indecision, and failures on my part. I dreamed of becoming a professional photographer – my parents reneged on their promise to support me through college. I’m still a very good photographer. I wanted to be an architect – I believed the advisor when he said I’d only end up designing parking lots. I can still do innovative and good design. I wanted to be a professional pilot – I let family and money pressures convince me to quit at almost 200 hours and halfway through my Instrument Rating. While I’m not current, I could, at this moment, take off and land a Cessna 152/172 almost anywhere. I wanted to be a cop, a really good cop – I chose at the right time to leave in a situation in which I could not prevail. I’m still educated as a cop – still have the skills, still have the knowledge. For every non-starter there have been useful lessons.
While it is easy for people to blurt out platitudes like “you can be anything you want,” or, ”simply visualize and it will come true,” they ignore that there are things outside our control, and that we cannot create reality out of whole cloth. While I do live my life purposefully, that doesn’t mean one does so while blindfolded. It makes sense to reach or dreams, but it’s much less painful to reach for what is actually attainable, that which cannot be forced, that which makes sense to pursue.
My dream, as much as it makes me smile, as much as it fills me with love, can also be a trap. Each piece of my dream can be a brick, which I could mortar into a prison of my own making; the bars becoming unhappiness, the walls oppressiveness, and the floor a foundation of resentment and sorrow. If I were single-minded enough to focus on what I don’t have, instead of what I can create, here and now, in my life today, I’d simply create a miserable reality.
I can’t have my dream and that is OK. It’s not OK in a way where I am denied my wishes. It’s not OK because others tell me that is how things must be. It’s OK like being OK with living, having to eat, needing water, needing love, and having an end to life.
It’s OK because it is.
It just is.
Instead, I create and foster a reality where I can encourage others to love, even if they doubt they can, or that I am actually free of fear that they love another. I can create a reality where it is clear I want someone in my life, that I want them happy, but if their happiness does not include me, then they should leave, with my blessing. Until then, as long as the relationship I have with a person is good for the both of us, I’d very much like it to continue until the end of my days, regardless of where they live, where they sleep, who helps raise their children and who they love.
Until the end of my days.