Family means more than kin

Published 9:49 pm Thursday, November 22, 2018

Life sometimes has the effect of broadening your perspective.

Luckily, that has been the case for me.

One example is my view of the meaning of family.

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Initially, I had been under the guise that family was the exact definition printed in the Miriam Webster dictionary, a unit in society traditionally consisting of two parents rearing their children.

This description certainly fit my family of origin to a “T.”

But, over time, I have come to understand that the term family can mean so much more.

Take for instance this week. I was working on a Thanksgiving story on the River City Rescue Mission.

Each year, this non-profit feeds hundreds on Thanksgiving Day while also hosting a group of volunteers who come in to help serve the meal, shelter manager Ernie Hall told me.

In addition to the mission providing food on Thanksgiving, they also serve lunch at their facility daily.

While I was there this week interviewing Hall about Thanksgiving, many from the community began to trickle into the shelter waiting for the volunteers to serve the daily meal.

One may think a facility of this nature would have an atmosphere of nothing less than despair, but the opposite was true.

To my surprise, there was laughter and camaraderie, and it was contagious.

In the midst of it all, I thought to myself, here is a room full of people, people just like me minus the economic advantages, who were finding some joy in life and connecting with one another. They made it feel like they were one big family and that feeling was good.

There are so many times that I find myself merely thinking in a near-sighted fashion, only considering life as it pertains to my own existence.

But, thankfully, there are days like the one I had this week, where opportunity broadened my understandings.

Although my family seems to have the proverbial appearance described in the Merriam Webster Dictionary, it does not mean it is the only profile of family.

What I witnessed this week certainly appeared “family-like,” people coming together to share a meal, while also talking and laughing with one another.

I also noticed there were many who were even inclined to give Hall a hug.

While I may have the luxury of having a strong and supportive “family,” at least according to Merriam Webster’s definition, it is heartwarming to know that Vicksburg has a place like the River City Rescue Mission where people from all walks of life can find refuge and a since of belonging.

Family, I am learning, is so much more than genetics. It could also be a connection with others, who may not be from the same socio-economic background or the same race or same religion.

I am beginning to understand that the sense of family comes from our ability to want to care for one another, and thanks to the River City Rescue Mission, my understanding of family has expanded.

So thank you to all who support this wonderful outreach ministry in our community.

Terri Cowart Frazier is a staff writer at The Vicksburg Post. Readers are invited to submit their opinions for publication.

About Terri Cowart Frazier

Terri Frazier was born in Cleveland. Shortly afterward, the family moved to Vicksburg. She is a part-time reporter at The Vicksburg Post and is the editor of the Vicksburg Living Magazine, which has been awarded First Place by the Mississippi Press Association. She has also been the recipient of a First Place award in the MPA’s Better Newspaper Contest’s editorial division for the “Best Feature Story.”

Terri graduated from Warren Central High School and Mississippi State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations.

Prior to coming to work at The Post a little more than 10 years ago, she did some freelancing at the Jackson Free Press. But for most of her life, she enjoyed being a full-time stay at home mom.

Terri is a member of the Crawford Street United Methodist Church. She is a lifetime member of the Vicksburg Junior Auxiliary and is a past member of the Sampler Antique Club and Town and Country Garden Club. She is married to Dr. Walter Frazier.

“From staying informed with local governmental issues to hearing the stories of its people, a hometown newspaper is vital to a community. I have felt privileged to be part of a dedicated team at The Post throughout my tenure and hope that with theirs and with local support, I will be able to continue to grow and hone in on my skills as I help share the stories in Vicksburg. When asked what I like most about my job, my answer is always ‘the people.’

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