Sunday, June 28, 2009

We're all cousins after all

One good thing about living half a century and counting, is that you get to see life take huge circles.  Astonishing twists and turns across mountains and around the world can wind up right back to the place you started.  But when you find yourself back in that place, you see things you never saw before.
In just a few days - a house full of people - word from old friends - a family reunion on multiple levels - a dear friend's loss.  So many energies seemed to converge at once.  For the first time in what seems like many days, my house is silent again and I have a moment to take it all in.
I have so many families.  There is the family of friends whom I have chosen and who have chosen me.   There is the family that I was born into with whom I share the longest memories and genetic history.  There is the family created by my father's second marriage when I was very young.  All these families are precious to me.
I view my neighborhood and larger community as family.  And these past days, sharing so much time with the closer family has given me some interesting perspective about the larger family context.
I have been estranged through the years from my genetic family.  There were things I thought I could never forgive and there were things they thought they never could.  But I wound up at family reunions again and found that we are really not so very far apart at all.  Our history together - those camping trips and holidays - the shared losses and shared successes - brings a larger context that overshadows any differences we may have.  We find a way to honor our connections.
In our neighborhoods and our larger community we need to do the same.  It's our common ground and our interconnected experiences that matter most.  If we can find a way to honor those, we can find a way to be family.  

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