“So who supported you?” his blue eyes were popping out of his sockets or possibly I imagined his astonishment. I was confused. Was anyone supposed to support me? Aren’t we all in it for ourselves? Of course, no one supported me. I’m an individual and it’s my life that I must live alone.
“I suppose it was boyfriends. I’d share my feelings with them…” I found myself murmuring and wondering where that insight came from.
Before coming to Australia I honestly did not think the function of families was to offer emotional support and try and buy thoughtful gifts for birthdays and Christmas. I thought having children was an unpleasant necessity, a duty, a curse, torture and mostly an unwanted thing because they, children, were a source of worry and they sabotaged lives and stole hopes and dreams. I didn’t understand why mum and dad had me and my brother. I think we failed them in that we didn’t live their unlived lives for them.
So here was this psycho of a psychologist asking me who supported me. Of course he led me to a breakthrough that I needed to fix my relationship with my family if I wanted a successful career. Ha! Fat chance. It took me four years to act on that breakthrough. Only when I had my own children did I appreciate the importance of a supportive family.
But today I’m not here to talk about me. You can read about my troubled past and blocks on my way to the holy grail of a successful career here.
Today is all about the power of the orphan. King Arthur, remember, was borne of mystery, that is to say he did not know his parentage and was an orphan until he pulled the sword in the stone. Brian Collinson, registered psychotherapist and Jungian analyst, emphasis that orphans yearn for a home above all.
I visualise young King Arthur, Wart, a ward of Sir Ector growing up with Ector’s son, Sir Kay as a boy who doesn’t quite belong to the family he grows up in. He feels a bit like a servant, as most orphans or adopted children can feel for not being a “natural” part of the family not drawing the love automatically as they were not born or wanted by their original parents.
It’s tough for the families who’ve adopted them. How to show their adopted or foster children the same love and attention? I mean it’s difficult enough ensuring love is split equally among one’s own children to avoid sibling rivalries but how to build up the confidence of one whose place in your household isn’t through birth? The orphan always feels it. Despite all the care that goes to make him feel a part of it, he always feels he’s different and that he doesn’t belong.
What does the orphan do? He dreams of a place where he belongs. He longs for equality in the world, where everyone is accepted. He envisions a roundtable where everyone around it is recognised for their unique gifts.
The Rountable as Family
Think about your own family. Did you ever feel like you may have been adopted? You may look at mum and dad and the dreams they gave up on and vow that you’ll never be like them and hence you were never a part of them. King Arthur was a genuine orphan. You may be an orphan in your own mind. One thing remains certain. Those who don’t belong, the misfits, the crazy ones, they are the ones who make the world better for everyone. That’s a lesson we all learned from another adopted child, Steve Jobs.
Because King Arthur tasted firsthand what it was like to be without support, without anyone to love him and stand up for him unconditionally, he vowed no one in his kingdom would feel lonely and unsupported. He built the roundtable to be a support group and his humanity allowed all of the knights who came together to go onto great adventures and have success on their own terms.
Though King Arthur set up the roundtable and showed his knights a vision of the Holy Grail, he wasn’t worthy of it himself (something about not properly maintaining his most intimate relationship, that between a man and his wife). Instead, the Holy Grail was found by Sir Galahad, who died shortly after sighting it, Sir Perceval, who became a hermit and Sir Bors who returned to Camelot to tell of it.
However, I have no doubt that King Arthur found much joy among his chosen family (who says you can’t pick your family?) the men who shared his vision and came together for each other around a roundtable.
Over to you…
Who is your extended family and what values do you share with these people?