What Makes Us Family

I have read statements like: Family isn’t always blood. It’s the people in your life who want you in theirs; the ones who accept you for who you are. The ones who would do anything to see you smile and who love you no matter what.

This sounds a little one sided. Family isn’t always blood, this I agree with completely. But if you are the kind of person who openly accepts others as they are, then you will be accepted. If you freely invite others into your life, then you will be invited into their lives. If you would do anything to bring a smile to someones face, then you will have family beyond measure.

Some of my closes family members are not related to me by blood, but by bonds. The bonds we make with friends from school, or with those we work closely beside, or with others that we share a common life experience, all can become our closes family members. And in this age of technology, sometimes we form bonds with others that we have never met in person.

I have seen how some of our military families have a bond between them that is stronger than they have with blood family members. They share a common experience that cannot be understood completely by others. Even within the military, their life experiences form different bonds.

The wounded warrior community forms bonds very different, and more complex, than service members in general. Depending on what types of injuries and where they are treated brings like families together. For example: The wife, or mother, of a warrior will reach out to another wife, or mother, who has come through those hospital doors, to comfort and to try and help guide them. Comforting is a way of surviving emotionally, especially when faced with their families uncertain future.

I believe that if we reach out to others that we come into contact with everyday, if we open our own doors to let others into our lives, if we make ourselves available to others needs, then we have the possibility of making someone else’s journey through this life a little easier.

Bonds within bonds, now that is where true families live.

This post is dedicated to  organizations like the Bob Woodruff Foundation, Operation Mend, and Operation Homefront who sponsor retreats for the wives and mothers of wounded warriors. They all bring us together so that we may heal.

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Sarah Jenkins and Diana Mankin Phelps, Operation Homefront’s San Antonio retreat 2014.

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