We played a game in class yesterday. Our lecturer, Ms. B, asked us to write down 10 things that we value the most in our lives right now. I came up with 8.
Then she said, "Throw away five."
"I have 8," I said.
"Yes, throw away five."
I looked at them. Throwing away dance and books were easy. The rest were not.
She told us to scrunch them up and throw them on the floor. So I did.
Finally I was left with three. And it was funny. One of the three was 'family'. For some absurd reason, I began to cry. Memories flooded me.
"Throw away the others until you have just one," Ms. B went on.
I knew which one I would keep. I scrunched up the other two, including 'God', and kept family.
The lecturer began asking some of the students what was happening with them. Two other girls were crying too.
Then she said, "It was also a really difficult exercise for you, wasn't it, Gillian?" Silence. "Extremely painful." Silence. "Do you want to share with the class?" I shook my head. "Yeah, I can see that." she said.
And the class went on.
After the class, some of us were hanging around and chit-chatting. To my surprise, two of my classmates said they threw away 'family' in the first five. They were laughing about it.
I said, "If you've ever lost family, you will value it. You won't throw it away."
"Or perhaps, you've been so badly hurt by your family!" shot back one of the girls who had thrown away 'family'.
I thought of the youths I knew. Despite all the pain and heartbreak and abuse and abandonment they had gone through at the hands of their families, they still longed to go back home to family.
"That statement is not true." I thought. But there was no use me saying anything. I knew my classmate would never understand.
Nobody can until they've lost family how desperately you will cling to whatever 'family' you can after that.