whoever thought of the family "tree" was onto something. i prefer to picture a rosebush, however. there are those who are your foundation and prove themselves over time. my bio-dad once said he gives people the Five Year Test. if they fuck up royally in the first five years he knows them, he writes them off.
this is a good test.
those who prove themselves --blood relative or not-- are the bush's roots. and those who prove themselves may be added to the your root structure. after all, roots grow. through any weather, transplanting, or hardship, those roots are strong and anchor your soul. the plant grows, roses bloom and attract butterflies and bees and smiles. people pluck the beautiful blooms to give to their sweethearts, spreading the beauty and symbolic love growing from your family.
some people, however, suck the nutrients from the roots and give nothing back. they're rightfully called "suckers." it takes time to find these, because while they suck your roots dry, the appear as any other branch. only enough time reveals they will grow yet produce no blooms, no beauty, and no love. they are then chopped off at the root with cold necessity, lest they kill the whole plant with their ruthless, selfish, fruitless greed.
family is a choice, a prize rosebush to be cherished and protected and nourished so it can spread beauty and love, fragrance, and be around for generations.
love... love is war, and love is peace. the soul is the battlefield upon which all these powerful human emotions wage their conflict. everything from insecurity and substantiated fear, to hope and faith.
sometimes the long path through that battlefield is overwhelming. the skirmishes can wear a body down. strategy and tactics are a puzzle that exhaust the mind. maintaining battle-readiness is a strain which can fray the strongest soul.
the question, "what if i died tomorrow?" is a good question. it eliminates the obstacles we believe are so necessary, so vitally important. if i died tomorrow, none of those things would matter, and there would be no battle. yet...odds are i will not die tomorrow, and those obstacles and complications are important because there are consequences to all of them, which must be considered. experience teaches us consequences are to be respected. it teaches us temperance.
temperance is a beginning to wisdom.
yet...sometimes after considering all the dangers, the consequences, the tactics and terrain and collateral damage...sometimes the battle must be fought. when the dust settles and the dead are buried, after weapons are cleaned and sheathed once more, life will never be the same.
life is never the same, minute to minute. it's called "living."
but the victory, and the fruits of that victory, far outweigh the pain of battle. far outweigh the heaviness of despair that grips the heart in the thick of battle. far outweigh the helplessness that surrounds the edge of battle.
the heavenly illumination of love shines all the brighter against the memory of despair. the sweet ecstasy of love feels all the sweeter against the pain. the miraculous freedom of love feels all the greater against the helplessness. the battle was necessary, a struggle against those shadows dwelling in your heart which would never allow love to thrive. conquer the battle, conquer the shadows.
find peace. find faith. find hope. but the greatest of these is...
faith flourishes. trust thrives. sweet surrender shines bright. being in love, living in Love, means you have touched the sun and now, no matter how many storms darken your sky, you know it will pass...
...and you keep your face lifted toward the sky, knowing you will feel the sun once more.