From where did you begin?

This is part 3 in a series on The Family

For part 1, click here

For series synopsis, click here 

The other night Ann and I were watching one of my favorite shows on TV. We witnessed the transformation from an angry young man that we didn’t like at all, to a sad young man who had almost no chance from the start.

What changed?

Instead of just seeing where he was, we could also see from where he began.race1

With this understanding, we knew he had come a lot farther than we had initially given him credit for.

My mother had some pretty horrific, unimaginable things that were an everyday part of her childhood and youth. What engulfed many of her siblings in a life of pessimism and anger, seemed to only take hold of a part of her.

The other part was full of love.

I received that part of her; she gave me the best she had to give.

Some days I saw and understood that. Other days, however, not so much.

For much of my life I seemed to focus more on the parts of her that had been infected with the pessimism, the anger, the fear.

It’s only now I can see that what she was trying to show me was that it hadn’t enveloped her, it hadn’t consumed her. There was still that other part, that loving part that was holding on for dear life.

Actually, holding on for my life.

race8That was her gift to me. She was showing me just how far she had actually come, even if it didn’t seem to match up with the apparent progress of others.

It’s a gift that has changed my life.

A few days ago things kind of nosedived again and this bipolar thing was pretty rough. Well, it still is. Most probably always will be.

I seriously considered just stopping my attempts at putting some thoughts out there in this blog. It is just too hard and stresses me out too much. Stress makes me even more nuts and the pit gets deeper.

I told myself that it wouldn’t really matter anyway, I’m not doing a great thing or changing the world or contributing very much.

Most probably no one would be upset if I stopped.

But then, I remembered my beginning. And the sacrifices made to have my line drawn where it was.

Was I really going to say that after all of their sacrifices to establish my beginning that I wasn’t willing to run to the end?

Here’s the deal as I see it: A critical purpose of the family is to move the starting line forward as much as possible.

Let the next generation begin already ahead, so to speak.

My line was drawn unbelievably far down the path already. My parents made countless sacrifices to build the established foundation ready to support me from the moment of my birth.

race5Wouldn’t I be incredibly ungrateful if I chose to only work hard enough to finish at the same place as everyone else?

So I will continue to write.

It’s not much. In the grand scheme of things it’s really nothing at all. It is safe to say that it won’t make much of a difference overall.

But is that really the only reason to do something?

I know that it will make a difference to me. Right now it’s the only means I have of staying in the race.

And I must stay in the race, I must keep running  (no matter how slowly), because all that Ann and I do is about moving our children’s and their children’s beginnings as far ahead as possible, giving them the opportunity to cross a far distant and unimagined finish line.

Father than we ever could have run.

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It’s the family that determines where our starting point lies on the spectrum of life. It’s the family that can help us control how far and how fast we run. It’s because of the family that we can choose our own finish line and not settle for the one everyone else is crossing.

The family is all about helping each member to run as far from their own starting points as they can; running together for as far as we can, and then cheering as they continue running on their own.

Maybe it’s not so much the destination as it is the distance we each traveled to get there.

Keep running toward your own finish line, and make it as far from where you began as you can.

race9

 

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