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Category: Family Capital

Ever-Familiar Families

July 29, 2023

Lead Photo Credit: Andrew Neel via Unsplash

Nothing compares with the comfort of something familiar. Who doesn’t enjoy familiar music, movies, food, and stories?  

Familiar. Defined as “well known from long or close association,” what could be more familiar than families? You know your family members by their voice, the backs of their heads, their gait, their hearty laugh, or timid giggle. Yes, we know each other better than anyone else–the good, bad, and ugly–and we love each other fiercely just the same. 

Hearing a favorite song, smelling grandma’s famous chocolate chip cookies baking, sharing sacred as well as embarrassing moments, or laughing at inside jokes related to a frequently-played game can create memories of comforting familiar experiences. They are like deposits in our well-being account that multiply and grow with compound loving interest and provide security in the normal ebb and flow of life.

When we encounter difficult challenges and heartbreak, these memories become a more valuable asset. We can access our stash of familiar experiences and the assurance of our family’s unconditional love to put things in perspective. Nothing compares with the comfort of something familiar. 

Right in the process of writing this article, I got an email from our granddaughter, Ella, that was a textbook example of this comfort. She is currently at the halfway mark of an 18-month service mission sharing her faith in Alaska, U.S., an unfamiliar experience which she describes as very difficult. 

She wrote: We had a woman in the ward (local congregation) invite us over to make cookies and we spent a few hours there making them so we could deliver them to people. Her house smelled just like yours after you bake, and it made me homesick but in a happy kind of way. It just smelt like something happy. (I might add that it felt like something happy when I read this.) 

But, what if family members choose an unfamiliar path? While we know so many things about those in our family–whether it be traditional, work, or community–we must know their hearts. It is imperative that we love them fiercely enough to let them spread their wings and map out their lives. That way we can trust them despite not understanding new life views unfamiliar to family patterns and our preconceived notions of them. It is at these times, it will be most important that they feel the familiar comfort of our love, acceptance, and understanding as we leave our doors and hearts open to welcome them home to a safe and familiar place.

May the most familiar aspect of our families be the loving acceptance they can count on whether they travel on the traditional course we envisioned, or an unfamiliar less-traveled way. Nothing compares with the comfort of something familiar.