Archive for love

The Importance of Family

Posted in opinion with tags , , , , on April 16, 2010 by Kyle Fleming

The thing about families is that you never know where they’re going to be. Sometimes your family is the people you grew up with, and the house that you’ll always remember from your childhood. Other times your family is the group of people you hang out with after moving out from home. Families come in all shapes, sizes, colors, creeds, and any other demographic adjective you can slap onto a group of people. But one thing that makes all families the same is how all of the individuals band together in victories and hardships.

I’m not able to go into much detail, at the request of my family (but mostly because I know better), but there was recently an event that has caused a lot of strain. It happened around the time I was going to write Monday’s blog, and it weighed so much on me that I couldn’t bring myself to write. Monday was spent trying to process the news, trying to find answers, and trying to keep my spirits up as I went throughout the rest of my day.

It was a day spent emailing, texting, calling people, trying to find support and advice. And it wasn’t until late Monday night that I realized that I have several different families rallying behind me, hoping for the best.

Obviously, there is my biological family, the mother I came out of, the father that helped create me, and all of their parents and siblings that I know as grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and the like. These are the people I’m exposed to every day, and though sometimes it’s a pain to even be around some of them, we support each other, because we are blood. Blood is thicker than water, sure, but it’s also thicker than highways, forests, deserts, and concrete. We support and love each other, because there’s nothing else that we know how to do.

Then there is my spiritual family, my brothers and sisters in Christ, wherever they are. I saw Pastor Brian in the hallways on Tuesday, and he stopped dead in his tracks when I referred to the news. We stood in the hallway for a few minutes talking about how I was coping (because I tend to be a highly emotional person). After we left, I got a text from him saying that if I needed to talk, that I was free to practically burst into his office at anytime. Combine that with all of the prayers and happy thoughts that are being sent toward my biological family in our time of frustration, and it’s a vast network of people willing to help me out.

Finally, I have my musical family, the Wartburg Choir. Even with the stress of our Midwest tour coming in two weeks, I got an email from nearly everyone in the choir letting me know that they’re thinking of me. Some offered words of encouragement for me personally (I was called “resilient” in one email), others offered spiritual advice (“God will make this work out. Have faith.”), and a few even shared similar experiences (“It’s good that [this family member] is getting the help [they] need. I know it helped me out a lot…”).

In all of these families, there is love and support. Some are related to me through blood, others through faith, and others simply through music. But through it all, all of my families are banding together. It’s an “all-for-one” mentality in that it is all of my family members from all walks of life coming together for one person who is having troubles. And as quickly as they rallied around me, I would rally around them in the same way, instantaneously, no questions asked.

I guess the point of this post is to say that you should never take any family that you have for granted. Humans have a genetic desire to belong to a group and to be loved by that group. If you’re lucky enough to have any family at all, love and support your family members with everything you have.

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Lenten Focus #4 — What Is Your Message?

Posted in religion with tags , , , , , on March 17, 2010 by Kyle Fleming

This is part four of a six-part series of the Lenten Focus, done every Wednesday during Lent. Part One, Part Two, Part Three.

Politicians will be the first to tell you that everyone has an agenda. It doesn’t matter what party you belong to, or where you live, or what you do for a career, you will always have a different slant on a subject as anyone else you’ll ever meet.

The biggest problem with this is that most of the time, it’s impossible to be objective about things. I try my best on this blog to not throw in any of my personal views into the things I write about, but sometimes it’s my viewpoint on a subject that makes me want to write about it.

The same thing happens with the message of Jesus. In Matthew 22:37-40, Jesus clearly lays out the two most important commandments: Love the Lord with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind, and Love your neighbor as yourself. It’s a simple, straightforward message that should be fairly easy to follow.

But then come in all the baises. Many people today largely ignore how simple this commandment is. They take this commandment and filter it through the rigid rules and regulations of the Old Testament (which we all know, according to Hebrews 8:13, has been rendered useless), turning the commandment into “Love God with all your heart, soul, and mind, and Love your neighbor as yourself, unless your neighbor is gay, an adulturer, or of another belief system. Then it is okay to hate them until they earn your love by converting to Christianity.”

The message of love becomes lost in everything that goes on in the world. The news is inundated with stories of death, disease, famine, war, infidelity, and all sorts of hatred: Parties hating other parties, nations hating other nations, with no end in sight.

It is imperative to remember those two simple commandments for what they are: a message of pure and unconditional love.

What does this have to do with you? You have an agenda, whether you like it or not. Use it to your advantage, and spread a message of love to the people who will listen to you. A pro-war message of love is different than an antiwar message. A vegetarian message of love is different than a carnivorous message. Men are different than women, the old different from the young. Take this message of Jesus, this message of love everyone no matter who they are or where they come from, and spread it across the world.

Everyone has an agenda. Everyone has a message. Find one that works for you.