Family of Strangers

Everyone craves stability. Even the most adventurous soul needs a solid support once in a while. Is it any wonder we often fear the unknown? It threatens our stability.

One of my blogging friends touched on this in her recent post If You can’t Beat’em, Juggle. She is an amazing woman who struggles with mental illness as she wanders the world with her international aid worker partner. I would highly recommend visiting her site if you wish a good dose of perspective mixed with beauty.

Her post prompted this reply from me:

This post, to me, is actually a testament to hope of unified world, for several reasons. Circuses are traveling shows. They are a mini world where the typical dividers of humanity disappear, to be replaced by a unique and very strong “family of strangers”, who then move from place to place giving the population a view of magic. And again the visitors of the circus lose their differences, simply becoming people enjoying the show. They provide a form of healing to people that ignores everything except their humanity.

As do international aid workers. And bloggers.

Fear of the unknown is understandable. And human. Take strength from that fact alone. You are a human helping other humans, and in the process bringing the world one step closer to healing itself.

Beyond all that, my new friend, whom I have only met online is in Europe. I helped her start blogging, and in one of the first posts she wrote she used the very same picture you did. That silly little fact prompted this comment :)

Blogging itself is a kind of circus!

Even as I was writing the comment, it seemed to me to be a good topic for a post, and it seems I was not alone in thinking so. So here I am, expanding the thought a bit:

Once upon a time, there was no internet. No tv, no radio, no telephones. No cars.

But there WERE humans about. Lots of em. And these humans, being human, had hopes and fears; joy and sorrow. They had curiosity. And they feared the unknown. For most, their direct knowledge of the world extended as far as their feet could take them. Or maybe a horse if they were lucky.

There were ways to expand their knowledge of the world. Rumor. Myth. Those who governed gladly detailed who to love and hate. Gladly painted pictures of other humans as being some how different. Religious leaders refined this art to ensure distrust of your very neighbor. Such teaching separated humans into groups. Groups that embraced intolerance.

And then there were the travelers. And the fringe dwellers. Travelling merchants. Travelling entertainers. Nomadic souls who had separated from their stable roots for many different reasons. Such nomads brought direct knowledge of the beyond. Knowledge that often was at odds to what the governing bodies shared; what the religious leaders shared. Travelers made it possible to recognize distant humans as simply … other humans. For those willing to accept what they represented. After all, these travelers; these fringe dwellers, were still “them”. They were not “us”.

The first internet.

If one wanted to know something of the unknown, these were the folk to ask.

The first search engines.

Theses nomadic souls were nomadic for various reasons. Perhaps they were exiles. Or shunned for not being “normal”. Or perhaps they committed crimes. Or were running from some hated past. Or maybe they were simply folk whose curiosity overcame their fears. They all had their stories to tell.

The first bloggers.

Few can live completely without the support of others. Such nomadic souls, if not already part of a larger group, would often seek out those who would accept them. Those who would give them a sense of stability. Provide them with a family, even if a Family of Strangers. Allow them to be who they are. Allow them to survive.

For example circuses. A circus is a group of mismatched souls from all walks of life. They allow the “different” to embrace their difference; the purposeless to have a purpose; the homeless to have a home. They provide a family to those who never felt they had a family before. The allow humans to be human.

Circuses allow the world at large to visit the world at small. A circus takes all the magic and creativity that makes up human character and shares it with the world. They transcend so-called differences defined by place of origin, or”race”; or maybe even how many limbs one may have. When one steps through the gates of a circus, one leaves behind the definitions of world forced upon them by others, and enters a world devoted simply to the wonder of being human.

The first blogging communities.

So the next time we feel as if we are living in a circus, maybe we will realize how amazing a concept that really is.

*Dedicated to an ever expanding Family of Strangers.

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