Compassionate Love Blog: Displaying compassion for those who fight mental illness, addiction, and abuse (c)2018 Nancy Virden, Always the Fight Ministries
Charlie Brown and the Peanuts Gang are some of my favorite people. This Thanksgiving, my table is adorned with all of them. A picture of the infamous Charlie Brown Thanksgiving meal hangs on the wall. My intention is to serve little snack cups with samples of Snoopy’s cuisine: popcorn, pretzels, jelly beans, and toast.
Though members of the Peanuts gang had relatives and homes, they chose to spend holiday time together. To the main characters, Lucy, Linus, Sally, Marcie, Peppermint Patty, Pigpen, Franklin, Violet, Charlie, Snoopy, and Woodstock, this group was family.
Some of us have little to no family with whom to spend Thanksgiving or any holiday. Perhaps family memories and members have faded to the past. Strife or tragedy may have prevented a sense of family at all. Most likely, the culprit of broken ties is a mix of distance and time.
We have, or can build, a Today family. Temporary families dot my past. My family of origin briefly existed. Visits with extended family were short and far-between. My friends became my family followed by my (now ex) husband and children.
Everywhere I’ve lived or built a social circle, “family” has included persons both related and unrelated to me. One option is to look back and bemoan the loss of many of these relationships. Embracing a Today family sounds like a happier choice.
This year, I have invited relatives not seen in about 10 years. Jon and Tim, my sons, will also be joining us. Last year, two women had dinner here, while for a couple years prior I sat around feeling sorry for myself.
See the progression? Learning to look after my needs is an arduous task. In doing so, others are also blessed. It is worth the anxiety (where will everyone sit?), the money (lots of food!), and stepping out of my comfort zone.
I encourage anyone without a technically-correct family to celebrate the family you have today. Friends, neighbors, shut-ins, people at the homeless shelter – all can be members of your family if you reach out in courage.
And you will be their family too.
Today’s Helpful Word
1 John 4:19
“We love because he first loved us.”
NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental and behavioral health challenges. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.
If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.
If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S. (for international emergency numbers, go here ), or go to your nearest emergency room. Do not be alone. Hope and help are yours.
*photo of friends: rawpixel.com on Pexels.com