Be sure to read a book named The Education of Little Tree; it will inspire you to think of things you’ve known, from a perspective you haven’t considered before. One way that comes to mind is the suggestion that “kin” means less about someone in your life being a blood relative and more about the idea of “kin” being someone(s) you understand. And according to the story, in order to love someone, something, you need to understand it; since you can’t love what you don’t understand because love and understanding are the same thing.

From the story:

Kinfolks meant any folks that you understood and you had an understanding with, so it meant loved folks. But people got selfish, and brought it down to mean just blood relatives; but that actually it was never meant to mean that.

Be sure to make efforts to “kin” the people you choose to have in your life. Ask questions, listen carefully to the answers so you can understand—love— who they are and what’s in their hearts. Make extra attempts to “kin” the people you’ve known for a long time. Since based on history, you will think you know them, not really considering that time passes and people shift and grow and need to be understood all over again. To the people you care deeply for propose the question: “Do you kin me?” Kin will reply “I kin ye” (I understand you) and then ask you the same question back.

E.L. Chappel author of Spirit Dance/Storm Makers/Coming very soon: The Surge

The journey to kin never ends. Take time to get to know and really understand your kin.

aka The Glamorous Wife

P.S. Forrest Carter, the author who wrote this book, was not someone who I would consider a good man. But he wrote a story, filled with so much inspiration, I feel like it would be a missed opportunity not to share it. Even from darkness there can be moments of genuine revelation.