The word "family" can stir up a variety of emotions in people. For some, family is synonymous with love or loyalty. For others, it can be the opposite. Family can sometimes be synonymous with words like misunderstood, suffocating, or even alone. It's impossible to know how the word family will make another feel because everyone has a different experience no matter how similar, there will always be differences. Even within siblings.
The one thing I believe everyone can relate to when they think or hear the word "family" is strong emotions. Whether they be positive, negative, or a combination of the two.
For me family is beautiful thing that I associate with the words love, loyalty, laughter, tears, and unbreakable. However, it is not rooted in blood or DNA. Outside of my parents, my grandmothers, and older brother, most of the people I consider close family members are not biologically related to me. This is not a sad or traumatic reality for me because it is rooted in distance and coexistence.
My entire biological family lives in Brazil. I have lived in the United States since I was one. The only people I saw regularly in my upbringing that are actually related to me were my mother's parents and my father's mother. But all my aunts and uncles, my first cousin, second cousins, and so forth I barely know. It is only in recent years that I've come to know them and be able to have more interactions with them due to being able to financially afford traveling to Brazil and technological advances that allow us to stay in communication despite distance. With a multitude of social media and communication applications I can now have a sense of coexistence with them.
With that being said, the people I still consider my closest family members are the adults and peers I grew up with and now their children. I refer to them as my aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews. And then there are some of my friends that I've either known for years that have become family or even those I've met with the past five years that have become family by choice and commitment.
I've been a part of the CGS community for four months now and when my friends or family ask me about CGS I tell them about how great the people are. How this community reminds me of a family. I know that word might be alienating to some due to their own experiences so please substitute that word for whatever word fits better. When I look at this community I see people whom have chosen to love and care for one another. It's truly a beautiful thing and I feel blessed to be a witness to it. It's what gives me courage in this time of transition that CGS is going to continue to thrive in the face of the unknown.
~ Aline Santos
Christ the Good Shepherd
Various editorials, articles, and other items of interest.