March 26th, 2015 | Uncategorized
When I stop and think of all the love that I have been so blessed to be a recipient of in my life, I am in pure and unfiltered awe. Humans are much more powerful than they may think. Sure, humans can accomplish inspiring feats of physical strength. We can use our minds to create knowledge and comprehend our environment in a myriad of ways. We can apply sheer human will-power to survive and thrive. All of these are unbelievably trademark of the human being; but there might be another element to our strength that we fail to account for as often as we should.
Have you ever felt empty before? Like you’re not really sure what it is, but there is something that is just not there. Or maybe the opposite, you have felt fulfilled in a way that is verbally inexpressible, fundamentally indescribable. Maybe it is the joy of having a child, or marrying the person that you love. Maybe it is the moment you realize you have a best friend, or it might be the moment you realize how much your family means to you. It could be missing a passed on loved on, or finally acknowledging how much something or someone meant to you long after your time with them has passed. These feelings are all really two sides of the same coin, two hoops on the same court, two goals on the same pitch.
Have you ever stopped and thought about how you ended up being born to your parents; like, really how did YOU end up in the network of people that you are now in? I’m going to speak in ideals for a moment. Without thinking too much about it, we assume that wherever we may have landed, we have people around us somewhere that love us. Why do they love us? Well, to be blunt, it’s usually just because you’re their kid. Regardless of whether family actually enjoys you as a person, they most oftentimes still express an unconditional love, based on two main factors. One, naturally we are predisposed to care for and maintain relationships with our close family members, this is biologically founded and it is inherent in the way that human beings structure their social network. Therefore, nurturing, loving, and taking care of offspring and close family bears a biological and socio-historical element. But it can’t be completely natural and biological, otherwise, why would there be so many cases of family love that actually doesn’t happen? This brings me to the second reason that families in human societies generally share the bonds that we socially expect them to: expectations. There is a very strict social notion that undeniably and consistently presumes that we love our family members. The words mother, brother, father, and sister are not light words in our language, rather they bear a great deal of emotive content. This is why when two siblings do not get along, or a relationship is severed between two members of an immediate family, it is surprising and sometimes quite saddening. This is because of the expectations that we hold.
Think of a child adopted by the two most loving and devoted parents you could imagine. There is no biological connection here, other than the most important biological factor, our humanity, of course. Nevertheless, love can be unconstrained in the same exact way that it is in a home of biological relatives. Why is this, and what does this tell us? It really appears, then, that love, affection, care, devotion, dedication, brotherhood, sisterhood, and all of those words that connote true commitment to another person do not have much to do with biological constrictions at all. So, why then are we so quick to feel inclined and nearly obligated to love someone to whom we are told we are biologically related, and yet so hesitant to extend the same consideration and care for others who occupy the same exact space in the world as a living, breathing human being.
I am not advocating that people do not care for family. However, I pose a serious inquiry into the foundations of love, what makes us happy, what leaves us void, and what ultimately fulfils us; let’s ask ourselves why this cannot be extended to those who do not share the same biological affiliations as ourselves.
At times, we tend to compartmentalize our relationships and social networks without critically thinking. After thinking and thinking……and thinking…..and thinking, I still cannot come up with a valid and ethically sound reason why I would intentionally treat any person, whether I know them personally or not, any different than I would treat the closest of my family members.
Although it is much more difficult to accomplish in practice than in my theoretical ranting, it seems that at the very least, we try to understand that not much really separates us. No matter how much love you may have for a family member, friend, or other loved one, neglecting to share the essence of human strength and ability, the fundamental and essential human attribute…..neglecting to share that with any other person is defeating and counterproductive. If you have the ability to love and care, then do so. Don’t restrict yourself because your cup is already full, it might mean someone else’s isn’t.
Think about a time when you were content. Think about when you felt truly fulfilled. The love may have come from anywhere, but I guarantee it came from somewhere. That is all that humans can survive on. Food and water are the material content which fuels us, but what validates our existence is the intangible and unquantifiable depth that human connections, relationships, and mutual considerations offer. Thinking about the barriers that keep me back and the mental restrictions that I have placed on myself are helping me learn and grow in new environments every day. If I can love members of my family with such an undying devotion, then surely I have more in the tank for others. What’s really hampering us? At the end of the day, we all count the same.
That’s what Ireland taught me, peace.