Along the lines of Wendell Berry’s Gift of Good Land. Value of family vs family values. The Waltons – but not Walmart.
I don’t find it too difficult to argue that one inherits their family. And not just the family one is born into, but also the family one creates as life develops. If you’ve no children of your own you might well look to those around you, kin, friends, and acquaintances. These constitute family so far as you allow them. Like other types of inheritance, not all the folks around us will seem of similar treasure. But I don’t count this a negative. Even those who challenge us and cause us to doubt some imagined value still add to the color of the cloth our lives are woven in.
As the years have passed my own family has changed. How could it not? My parents are now both gone, and both my sisters have passed. I am left with four brothers. And this remains a great blessing. I have married into family… from which I inherited three brothers-in-law. John, my wife’s eldest brother, died last fall. Far too young. A treasure lost. But his memory still lives among us, so the loss can be borne like any other most meaningful absence.
By focusing on male sibs I don’t mean to detract from the value of sisters. I have the benefit of many wonderful sisters-in-law. But in my own case, the boyhood experience of growing up with similar aged brothers filled our home with a rambunctiousness that must have tested all who came upon it.
As we weave the tapestry of our lives we have the weft and warp of our family, friends, and acquaintances. The colors and the strength of the fabric are not completely in our control. And this is probably best. For we similarly mark the tapestries of those around us, and fortunately beauty is still reserved for the eye of the beholder.
Oh, if anyone asks, gray – as in ‘gray haired old curmudgeon’ – gray is a color.