We spent Saturday through Tuesday in Westchester, NY and in the suburbs of Philadelphia, PA enjoying time with old and new friends, singing at a Hootenanny and learning some lessons about family gatherings and people along the way. Oh, and we went to a funeral, too.
What a long, strange trip it’s been! (Truckin’, Grateful Dead)
Without diving too deep into personal details, Beth and I were able to see that it’s not just our families of origin that are highly…interesting. The complex and often painful dynamics that exist in many (most?) families are a little bit like getting stuck in a spiderweb: sticky and quite scary if one falls into one. And boy did we!
In two different states, we had great fun with super relaxing moments AND a couple of uncomfortable and stressful moments, as well. Fortunately, the good visits more than made up for the difficult lessons, so we’re coming home more grateful than beleaguered. And as Nelson Mandela said, “I never lose. I either win or I learn.” Yup.
Thankfully, I’m sleeping better, too. I’ve been using a tincture called Deep Sleep and it’s helping a lot. Thanks go out to my therapist who suggested I try Valerian root (and who also gave us some delicious paprika to enjoy in potatoes). Now, that’s a cool therapist!
Thanks also go out to Bill G., Lee S. and others for hosting and feeding us. I remain amazed and grateful that we are freely welcomed into people’s homes with such love, laughter, openness and warmth. Connecting with people remains my favorite part of travel (alright, nature is pretty awesome, too) – even though it sometimes means I get stuck in those webs!
This week, I’ve got to move through some big projects, so I’m feeling a mixture of fear and excitement. But I am also feeling humbled. Today, I sat next to a relative, a man just a few years older than me with Type 2 diabetes, end-stage kidney failure and a missing leg. If he or Nelson Mandela can smile and make it through this life, then so can I.