I am related to everyone.
From my earliest memories, everyone I met seemed to be a relative; at least that's what I thought. More often than not, there was always a new face at the family dinner table. For the longest time, I just figured I had a lot of aunts, uncles and cousins in the world who would just drop by and eat, laugh & visit with us, and then they'd be gone as quickly as they had arrived. There was always a place for everyone, food was shared and memories were made.
As I got older, I realized that these people who always showed up out of the blue, were just people. They somehow met my parents or grandparents and were invited into our homes. My grandparents survived through the Great Depression, and they believed strongly in sharing their blessings with others.
They believed everyone had a value, a story, and something to offer others.
The consistent influx of new friends and family into our lives: the opportunity to share stories, experiences, meals and services, provided me with a a growing tapestry of relationships.
My childhood was infused with the understanding that people are always valued over things, and sharing experiences over solitude and self.
After college, I began gravitating toward jobs that combined service, education and community.
I found that meeting people wherever they were and sharing in their circumstance was natural and enjoyable.
It gave me a sense of value not just the 'punching of a time clock', 'means-to-an-end' type job.