Monday, January 15, 2007

Blood and Water

My dad always used to say, "blood is thicker than water." What he meant was that blood, the family, is all we can trust and count on. This kind of scared me as a child, especially growing up around the insanity of alcoholism. I love my family, but a part of me knew, even as a young girl, that I couldn't count on them for everything at all times.
Then I wondered about the 'thicker' part of that expression. What did that mean? Thicker meaning more substantial? But isn't thicker also slower? Thicker can clog and back up on itself.
Anyway, that expression always stayed with me through my growing years, even though it felt more like a subtle threat or gentle warning than parental advice. And for a time, I did not look to the outside world for much support or understanding. I kept myself surrounded by a thick skin of family. I remained safe within the familiarity of the dysfunction.
As I got older, I started looking at the 'water' part of it. If blood represented family, than water must represent the outside world . . . like friends. It made sense to me. We can't choose our blood, the type, or from where it came, just as we can't choose our family, its type, or from where it came. (Excluding the karmic and spiritual explanations.) But we can choose our water (and there are a lot of choices these days) . . . where we get it from, how much we want, when we want it. And it is just as important as our blood. It is a life sustaining element.
In fact, I am very much a water person. Water calms me, inspires me and exhilarates me. We are baptized in water, we cleanse ourselves in water, we cool ourselves in water, we swim, we dive, we explore, we float and yes, we can also sink and drown.
There are many things that are all equally important in the grand scheme that is life. At certain times and under certain circumstances, we may need one of those necessary things a little more than the all the others.
I guess I'm feeling a little anemic these days.


Michelle's Spell said...


What a gorgeous picture! As to your post, I can totally relate. My mother was fond of saying that too -- you couldn't trust others. But at the end of her life, when she realized I STILL wasn't married and probably wouldn't be anytime soon, she changed and said that she'd read somewhere that you could make a family of your friends. I was shocked, and it made me worry. But I think she realized that I would soon only have one living relative and that I water might work just fine as a supplement. I like what you say about the nature of water. Family is great, as is romance, but friends are totally underrated, the workhorses of sanity and off fending off the despair caused by family and romance! All happy thoughts to you . . .

Brad said...

Ditto on the picture. I learned a lot from Kirsten.

Laura said...

As one with close family ties, I understand the "blood thicker than water" thing. In my experience, family is always there when you need them. Of course, I consider my closest friends to be a part of our family too. I guess I'm just a family oriented person.