Just another face in a crowd

“Home, is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.” _Robert Frost


Being a part of a crowd can be a wonderful thing.

To be a part of a crowd all you have to do is go along with the crowd.

You don’t have to lead, serve, think, contribute, work, or sacrifice. All you have to do is be just another face in the crowd.

Crowds demand no on-going dues (maybe a one time ticket price for an event). And that reminds me of another good thing about crowds…they require no long-term commitment. Once the event or purpose for gathering is over you can wash your hands of the whole affair and go on your merry way.

But is that what you really want?

Specifically I’ve been thinking about this as it relates to families.

Families endure, they’re generational.

Families are sticky. You can’t just walk away.

Families are hard to be a part of.

If you don’t like the crowd you’re with all you have to do is find another crowd. Families don’t give you that luxury. You’re either blessed with the family you’ve got or cursed with them (or a little of both) till you leave this ole world and then they put the family name on your tombstone and claim you for eternity.

Matter of fact, you can’t be a member of just any family. You don’t get to pick your family (or their nose…I couldn’t resist) they pick you. Blood and covenant is required. Till death do we part is required.

If you are a part of a crowd and do decide to think for yourself and go in a different direction…fine, but no one’s coming after you. But a family doesn’t do well with prodigals (whatever their reasons). Families love and this means they go after their prodigals. (It’s sort of like the lyrics in the song “Hotel California” – You can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave.)

Unlike crowds, if a family member stumbles and gets left behind, families turn around and go get them. If they lose their minds, faculties, or finances, families step up, close ranks and protect their dignity and privacy.

It’s hard for old people to be a part of a crowd. They can’t take the jostling, noise, and pace. But families…they find a place for their elderly. It’s usually an honored place at the head of the table or in “their” chair. And families make special trips and plans to gathers around them not trample over them.

But unlike crowds which are powerful, families are fragile. Families are made up of a very small closed and private group that is always just one generation from extinction.

And the moment you start watering down what it means to be family and embrace the modern idea that families are not forever or can be anything you want them to be, families go the way of dinosaurs.

The question is: Is that what you really want?

Photo by Tyler Nix on Unsplash

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