Last week my youngest sister got married. It was a small civil wedding, only the closest family was present. Parents, siblings with their partners, two nieces, one nephew and one three-months old son. The nucleus, the core, the real deal. Those who matter most.
Next year my sister and my new brother-in-law might do a bigger celebration. This would include aunts and uncles, cousins, good friends, perhaps neighbours and colleagues. A big family gathering with some add-ons. Those who matter.
A couple of weeks ago the British Queen died. People waited 24 hours in a queue to see the black box her body was lying in. Strange stuff, still happening in 2022. Just as I don't understand the patriotic feelings some people have towards a flag, I don't understand why you can mourn a Queen like a family member. Does she really matter?
I have friends who posted sad faces next to photos of the Queen. So I tried to understand. I wondered how I'd feel if a musician who has accompanied me during much of my life died. Say for example Tracy Chapman. If she passed away tomorrow, I'm sure I'd listen to her albums that same evening; I'd light a candle and I might even shed a little tear of gratitude for all the beautiful moments we've shared. I've never met Tracy, I haven't even seen her in concert. But yes, she matters to me.
Parents and children, sisters and brothers, neighbours and friends, the Queen and Tracy – where does family end? And is it possible that there is no end?
Potentially, the whole world could be my family – all people, all beings, even water and land. Not only because we live on the same planet, but because we're all interconnected in mysterious ways. And since we're connected, we're important to each other. So if FAMILY means someone who really MATTERS, anyone and anything that matters to me becomes my family.
What about you? Who matters to you?
PS: The crowdfunding campaign for my new documentary film about peace is still running. Become a part of AHIMSA @ clausmikosch.com/ahimsa