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  • Writer's picturePeter Humphris

Who is your Brother or Sister?

This is a delightful image, and like all images it tells a story. Two sisters in Australia who sponsor two sisters in Nepal; ensuring that the two young girls will have the schooling and opportunities that their bigger ‘Australian sisters’ have enjoyed.

It is also an image that asks an especially important question; “who are our relatives”?

Of course, we know the obvious answer, our family, however, we’ve also found experientially that we can feel very close to others outside of our family.

Two competing sayings illustrate the dilemma when we are looking for an answer to who we are related to:

1. Blood is thicker than water.

2. You can choose your friends, but you cannot choose your family.

The reality of our “family” is that it acts as our primary source of attachment, nurturing, and socialization; it is, ideally, the place we discover the power of love.

And the designation of “primary source” is important to acknowledge, for throughout the natural world, infants are weaned and then go on, beyond family, to participate in communities, societies, and civilizations.

The love with which we were nurtured knows no bounds, it is a starting point that in the in the landscape of eternity would see us reach out into oneness with all.

The role of family is so important in getting each of us off on the right footing, giving each of us an experience of “love”, and it underpins our relationship with the rest of the world.

Every family is unique, and for sure ‘we’re not all in the same boat’; but when we look at ourselves from a more distant perspective, our view of ourselves changes.

"Apollo 8 sailed off to explore the moon, but along the way the mission rediscovered Earth. For the first time, human eyes ventured far enough away to see our planet for what it truly is: a miracle bordering on the impossible, a delicate bubble of life and meaning spinning through the cold and empty darkness of space." [David von Drehle]

Sometimes called lifeboat earth, this perspective sees us very much as one family.

And so back to the initial image of the ‘four’ sisters, and the answer to our question given by this image, is that we all have many, many brothers, and sisters.

And we each therefore have a responsibility to nurture each other for together we can bring out the absolute best that our family aspires to.

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