I started to write all of this in a comment box, since I was responding to Amalia's comment on the last post, but it got kind of long and is probably more of a new entry.
I've heard about the "drop your family" exercise, probably from Kelli. It puts me in mind of a confession I need to make.
I was on retreat at a Catholic monastery last week--very progressive place, for Kansas--a Benedictine center where 168 sisters live together, and provide hospitality in the form of a very nice retreat place called Sophia Center. I was having dinner with one of the sisters, and she asked me about family. I talked about my mother and my brother, and then she said, "Yes, but don't you have a nuclear family." I panicked and said--really awkwardly--"uh, no." And then sat there thinking, "You're wearing a wedding ring, you dope. It's not like she can't figure it out. She lives with 167 nuns." (Nothing against nuns, certainly, but my gaydar was working overtime.)
I hate feeling the need to hide my family, and I almost never do it. But once in a while I just don't feel like I have the emotional stamina to go into it all, to change the tenor of a conversation or make others uncomfortable (and if that isn't a really stupid reason to lie to people, I don't know what is.)
So thanks for letting me confess. I did tell my spiritual director about my "nuclear family" the next day, since we were going to be spending an hour together. And she was great. Chances are very high that the sister at dinner would have been as well. I just didn't give her a chance.