My brother used to be blonde. He also used to be bigger than me. Those things change but he will always be my brother.
He and I are connected, always have been. We are brothers and we cannot change that, nor do I want to. We aren’t all that much alike. Different temperaments, different interests, different life experiences. We disagree on a lot of things, agree on the most important things, and I love him.
He is my brother.
All the other kids in my family play instruments and listen to classical music. I do not. I appreciate those things, just not enough to pursue them personally. We are not the same but I love them.
Over time I have collected in-laws, gained nieces and nephews. I have built relationships and started fires that would normally burn bridges but because it is family, the bridges remain. Because it is family and because I love them.Over time I have also met people who don’t share my parents or who haven’t married my siblings.Most of these people have never pinched me, called me annoying, tattled on me, or tried to burn my bridge. Those things are left to family. Yet we still love our family.
Love is not, nor has it ever been, nor does it need to be, exclusive.Love is not finite. Yes, there are limitations on time, resources, energy, all those things, but there is something about human affection that grows beyond those bounds. It can endure injury, increase in capacity, and stretch across boundaries. Love does not need to be held in reserve. We are capable of more
We can extend the same grace we normally give family, to those who come from much more distant branches on the tree. We can endure mistreatment, give extra chances, and give aid. We can enjoy good times, share food, and endure disagreement.I am and will be, a firm believer in friends and friendships. I will stay your friend. Even if I feel at the moment that I don’t really like you, that your politics are the worst, you owe me money, and you talk trash about my sister, we can get past it. We can endure.