Several years ago, I heard an interview with Muriel Spark – or was it Mona Simpson? – who bemoaned what might be lost as we more and more only hang out with those people we are comfortable with. Fewer and fewer of us live in the sort of small-town setting where, like it or not, we historically encountered people of all types from whom we could not fully escape.
I was reminded of this interview today talking to a client about her family. She has struggled for years with her two older sisters who are not, despite her best efforts, interested in processing and deepening their relationship with her. A lightbulb went off for me: family is now, for many of us, the only thing standing in the way of us entirely surrounding ourselves with people like us, with whom we have fewer conflicts since one of the reasons we chose them in the first place was because of how much easier it was to be around them than some of our family members. There is something I like about this phenomenon.
At the moment, there is quite the discourse out there about how many of us only talk to people who agree with us politically, spiritually, etc. and how this has polarized us even more. So, here’s to family: they keep our heads in the game like no one else and may be the thing that gives us the opportunity to stay flexible and compassionate.