True family is a phrase often used fraudulently and not applied in its fullest sense. However, in the core of what true family stands for, lies the key to returning society to its joyous and harmonious state.
My first sense of true family was sitting down to eat dinner with Serge Benhayon, his wife Miranda, his three out of four children present at the time – Curtis, Michael and Natalie – and his ex-wife Deborah. YES – Ex-wife.
For me, at the tender age of 12, to watch a family sit at a meal table with what society would deem the most unorthodox of melanges, plus observing every Benhayon family member to be as loving with each other as the next, with no tension, no discrimination and certainly with no sliver of comparison or jealousy anywhere in sight, was absolutely ground breaking.
Not only was the love shared within what we’d call their immediate family circle, for as I sat at that table I was wholeheartedly welcomed into the family meal along with the subsequent ones, never even remotely prejudiced by the fact I had only met Serge a few times in the two years I had known him and the rest of his family even less – some members not at all – OR by the fact Serge’s children and I had grown up on opposite ends of the planet OR the fact that at the time I myself did not see them as my family. On their behalf, there was NO holding back in LOVE. I was truly welcomed and embraced as an equal member of the family.
Fast-forward six years to my first parent-free trip out of Europe heading to Australia. I settled into Sydney’s North Shore in my new household with a family I had never met prior to my trip except for one brief conversation over Skype – The Walls Family – a family that made one generally awesome trip a LIFE ALTERING journey.
During my time staying with the Walls’ I was never treated as a guest, an ‘outsider’, a person who might come and go, be that in times when something was celebrated, or when Katie would bring home slices of banana bread for the family and never forget to include me, or when it was time for me to be pulled up and told that my behaviour was unacceptable, just as my biological mother back in London would do.
To be treated as an absolute equal and to the same extent a vital part of the family, allowed me growth beyond growth and learning that no training course or higher education facility could provide.
The Walls family gave me the space to grow from a boy to a man, all whilst gently and super lovingly supporting me to be able to make my own choices and to take care of all that needed to be felt, read, appreciated, respected, understood and lived. The Love, Appreciation, Gratitude, Adoration and Respect I hold for every member of the Walls and Benhayon families is not an atom less than what I hold for my own mother, who has raised me from birth.
And so when I reflect on what true family is, in my bones I know it is not blood bound or placenta promised, as the experiences I have had with the Benhayon family and the Walls family have shown me. I have been truly blessed to have had these exposures in my life.
It is now my absolute responsibility to hold others in the same quality of love, integrity and respect shown and shared with me by the Benhayons and the Walls’, to allow those I meet their own growth and learning.
Published with Permission of the Benhayon family and the Walls family.
By Michael Brown, 20 yr old student and retail supervisor, London UK