Remembering the past sometimes brings pain in the present. This post is a sequence to a post I wrote months ago titled “I Hate my Family”. This previous post brought various responses. I hope this one brings even more. I recently visited my father who lives hundreds of miles away. I also was able to visit my brother and other old friends from my childhood. And the more I look back and remember this recent visit, the more I realize how much I miss those people and that past life. I miss playing on the streets during my childhood. I miss spending time with all of my brothers and both parents, which I think will never happen again. I have been sad and angry about this life. I once thought so many things about life, but the more I live and the older I get, the more I realize how precious it is to share with those I care about, as long as they live.
My definition of love has evolved. It used to mean to care for those who share my values. Now love is the will and action of benefitting others without expecting a reward. I want my father to be happy and try to benefit him by visiting and calling him, therefore I love him. If I don’t take advantage of the time I currently have to express this love, then some day it would be too late. When I visited a neighbor friend who used to babysit me but now is bed bound requiring 24/7 care, I could not hold back my tears. I feel sad seeing her deteriorate with age. When I finally had to say goodbye to my brother on my last day of visiting, I embraced him tightly….I did not want to let go. It was almost like not wanting to let go of the past that I so much long to relive, but will not. I guess I fear continuing to go forward, getting closer to the second half of my life. A step closer to my mortality. I have seen so many family members getting old. My children growing bigger and stronger. We are getting smaller and weaker. This life really brings a lot of change. Everything in life evolves, either closer or farther away from God.
Jesus taught about loving others, and “hating” those that would be a barrier to living the Kingdom of Heaven. Sharing with my family and old friends has actually given me a more profound understanding of the love of God, living the Kingdom. I hate the sadness, the regrets, and the loneliness I sometimes feel when thinking about my family. But I love the joy, the good memories, and the present companionship of my family. It is not a matter of only loving those who share my faith, but to love unconditionally in spite of differences. I believe I have become a better Christian by simply spending quality time with those I care about, in spite of the distance. Jesus commanded us to love each other as we love ourselves. I also believe I have learned to have more mercy, patience, and to forgive. I have learned to love my family.