We Are Family

Sometimes life’s biggest blessings come upon you in the most unexpected fashion.

A little more than a year ago, I found myself suffering a horrible bout of insomnia. Nothing new for me, unfortunately. As I often do when I can’t sleep, I turn to reading, usually online. This particular night I decided to check out the discussion boards on Ancestry.com, which I had not visited in years.

As I moseyed around in the family boards, I came across a long forgotten message. It is one that I had actually responded to, probably on a night similar to this one when I struggled to find sleep.

Someone was seeking a photo of one of my family members.

It had been about six years since I had responded to the message, and apparently I never came back to check for a response. But a response was there. The respondent was excited to see that I could provide the photo they were seeking and wanted to email further.

I felt horrible that this person had been waiting, literally for years, to hear back from me. I quickly sent off an email to the address they had given, riddled with guilt and doubtful that I would ever hear back. But to my surprise, I heard back within a few days.

The story is quite long and far too complex to give details here, but the bottom line is that I was blessed with a new cousin. This man had been seeking info on a family he never met, and my email provided that connection. Something of a miracle, we all agreed. We made plans to meet in the coming months when he and his family would be in Texas for vacation.

When the day came, I was not sure how any of us would react. There was a bit of awkwardness in meeting someone for the first time, and his story of waiting many years to meet his family was one that I was happy to be a part of, but also nervous to have the responsibility of. I would be the first one of us he met. Ah, the pressure!

But all the anxiety slipped away when we made eye contact and embraced each other. There was an instant connection that we all felt. I can only say it was like love at first sight. I felt in my gut that this was a good man, and a good family. And that our meeting was the right thing in the right time.

Sometimes people make bad decisions, or no decisions at all. Sometimes life throws a curve ball that we could never, ever suspect. Sometimes people fail us.

I think that what I’ve learned through this experience is that a heart never reaches the point of not being able to love. No matter how many people are in your life, there is always room for one more.

Families are forged in different fashions, different times, and for different reasons. Whatever the reason for the design of your family, hold them tight and love them without reserve.