“The only rock I know that stays steady, the only institution I know that works, is the family.
These words come from an unlikely source. A corporate executive. A man who vastly benefits from the institution we call capitalism. Yet, these words hold so true.
The family is the one piece of humanity that has remained stable throughout time. Time will eventually erode even the mountains to a dust. Yet, the institution of the family has been the glue holding us together for as long as we have been around.
Family relationships are what teach us to interact with other people. To love. To feel. To learn. From the moment of our birth we are shaped and molded by our family and taught how to navigate this incredible journey we call life.
My family is sparsely scattered across the United States. My sister, Michele, lives in Kirkland, WA near Seattle. Another, Alexandra, lives in Glens Falls, NY, north of Albany. Another still, Nicole, in Hopkinton, MA, between Worcester and Boston. And a brother, Damian, in Scituate, MA, south of Boston. My mother, Leslie, lives in Schenectady, NY, outside of Albany.
Despite these geographical distances we remain close because of this glue we call family. We remain each other's cheerleaders, therapists, best friends, and confidants all wrapped up into one. I know that no matter how bad things may get, my family will always be there to pick me up. I also know however good things get, my family will be there to keep me grounded.
Each one of us owes so much to our families–whether we admit it or not. My reflection today is to give thanks to my family for always being there, for never giving up on me even in the darkest of times, and for ever being my compass. Thank you, for everything that I am.
Justin Barnard is a graduate student at the State University of New York at Fredonia. He is studying for a Master of Arts in English as well as a Certificate of Advanced Study in Professional Writing. Justin has been published in The Times Union, The Daily Gazette, The Journal of Critical Thinking, and recently presented research at the What is Life? Conference held at the University of Oregon at Portland. Find him on Twitter @JustinBWrites.