This I Believe
Everyone Should Have a Ryan
I can’t say that I’m a deeply religious person; that I pray constantly or believe infinitely in Jesus Christ. Nor am I spiritual; a person that believes in ying and yang and what-not. My strongest belief is not of these matters, but on a deeper one. Family, in a word. While I am lucky enough to have two siblings whom I love, I am at certain times unlucky enough to be stuck in the middle. The older one, the “smart one”, has taught me many things. But nothing like that which my younger brother has taught me. You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them. This is what I most strongly believe in.
I didn’t choose my family. I didn’t choose to have an older brother whose shadow I live in, and I definitely didn’t ask to be the middle child and the only girl, no less. But I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect younger brother. He has taught me to believe in things which cannot be touched, but rather felt by the heart. Do I believe that it is fair that he has severe learning disabilities? No, but I do believe that they have benefited my life greatly. His troubles and obstacles in life have forced me to see the world for what it is; unfair. But it has also forced me to evaluate everything I know, do and believe. I believe in tolerance. Total and complete tolerance of others, no matter what. Others do not think and feel this way, and I feel sorry for them, because they haven’t had a “Ryan” to teach them that this is necessary. I also believe in kindness to strangers, similar to what strangers give to Ryan when he goes up and talks to people about anything and everything. But most people aren’t like this, and that’s unfortunate. If only they haven’t had a “Ryan” to teach them that this is necessary.
But it is not just my literal flesh and blood that makes me believe so strongly in family. Because family isn’t about shared chromosomes or similar genes or family trees. Isn’t family those who don’t share these things, yet love you anyways? Where do you go when you have pressure from your parents about college and the hardships of having a disabled brother? You go to your other family. You go to your other house, the one which your “sister” or “brother” lives and are there for you. This “family” is the one that gets you through your actual family. The death of an uncle, a sick father, all of the turmoil’s that the unfair lives we lead throw at us.
The family is a haven in a heartless world. This is what I believe. If it wasn’t for family, biological or not, who is to know for sure how any of us would make it through this unwarranted world?
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.