I'm back from my week long trip to Houston for my parents 40th anniversary. I was able to visit with my immediate family and many extended family members that I don't usually get to see. It was a bittersweet trip of laughter and tears; reminiscing and misunderstanding; joy and careless injury; youthful wisdom and energy. I will always be absolutely awestruck at the great blessing my nephews and nieces are. It brings tears to my eyes at how incredibly fortunate we are to have them. Their very births created joy and distraction during grief. Their childhood has been one of great flexibility and insight. They express their love for us without shame and truly enjoy listening to our "stories around the fire". They show amazement, excitement and sentimentality well beyond their years.
The familiar familial branches of interaction have been pruned back by time and experience and in the scared-over cut there is an unfamiliar void. With time and season, new growth is appearing and from the scar, growth will push through to form the new relationship direction of my family. In the Dineh tradition "All beings through their relationship with others hold a story at each node of connection." - Joan Halifax.
Our stories are changing and the direction is yet unknown. Interaction with each other will change us, even if in a seemingly imperceptible way. Metal sharpens metal so one man sharpens another, the more we interact love should increase love. We may have fiery disagreements, but there is always love. In time, more understanding & tolerance will come when - in still, quiet contemplation - the dust of graciousness & humility settle down over us and we weave together our new family tapestry stitch by stitch, person by person.
My parents received the gift they wanted most which was every person in the family being there, from the youngest (2 years old) to the oldest (86 years old); the person with the most time on their hands (me) to the ones with the least time (my two brothers). This was also a gift to my grandparents, especially my grandfather. He can't speak anymore without great effort and usually only leaves the house for Dr. appointments. They sat at the head of the circle surrounded by their legacy. Grandfather was able to laugh and grandmother was freed to visit with the many helping hands eager to sit with grandfather. My aunt "Goofy" basked in the extra love around all the children she influenced and she played with the children of the children she loves dearly.
On my trips through the airport I saw a tremendous amount of waste. On the plane suffocated food in cardboard tombs wrapped in plastic for sale. The waste weighed on me like a person walking through a war torn land, it was everywhere I looked. Artificial too-cold temperatures fueled by giant air conditioners. I watched the fans rotating at full speed to cool a jet way that wasn't to be used for another hour. Mountains of trash per second created by constantly eating and drinking travelers with no recycling in sight. Houston makes it very difficult to recycle.
Overall it was a good trip. While I was away the garden grew and tomatoes and peppers have formed. I looked forward to getting back to work today. Last night we enjoyed the peaceful silence and watched a giant bright moon rise just above the thick fog that created islands in the night sky of the hilltops.