Me in the Middle Traveling with My Baggalini 4th Week

This past Wednesday was the fourth and last class of the Memories to Memoirs  writing course that I’m taking with OLLI ~ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute @ UVA.   The assignment was to write about ‘an item in my closet that I still use and that holds lots of memories for me’.  Here’s the link to the third class ….. (Me in the Middle of Memories of Opening the Door)

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My Travel Companion

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 In 1995, two flight attendants looking for a travel companion that would be stylish with many pockets, founded Baggalini.  Baggalini Crossbody Travel Bags make it easier to move from place to place with a sense of safety and security while keeping everything you need at your fingertips and in its place.  Just what I was looking for when I set out on my first foreign trip to England in 2001.

This bag, tucked away on the top shelf in my closet, has since been my travel companion on many exciting and happy memories.  It seemed to be the perfect choice for this week’s writing assignment ~ ‘Write about an item in your closet that you still use and holds many memories.’  Foreign travel to the Middle East and Ireland were trips of a lifetime.  Air travel to see family in Arizona, Ohio and Vermont were made easier with this little bag, especially when I had mobility issues with the onset of age-related medical problems. 

There was a time when I thought the opportunity to travel by air would never happen for me and my Baggalini reminds me that dreams do come true no matter how old you are.  It will remain on the top shelf of my closet, within my reach, for those spontaneous moments when the chance to travel becomes a reality once again.  Life is a Journey! 

Me in the Middle of A to Z Theme Reveal 2016 (#FlashBack)

        
It’s FlashBack Friday ~ A time of the month where you can republish an old post of yours that maybe didn’t get enough attention, or that you’re really proud of, or you think is still relevant etc.  This Blog-Go-Round is hosted by Jemima Pett and originally introduced by Michael D’Agostino from A LIFE EXAMINED.  That’s where you’ll find the rest of the participants or to join up yourself.

The post I’ve chosen for this month first appeared on ME IN THE MIDDLE on March 21, 2016.  Last April was a month of non-stop blogging and commenting even though I had pre-scheduled most of my alphabet posts.  I was seeing  alphabet letters in my sleep and would wake up early in the morning to make sure my day’s post was delivered as scheduled.  The many blogger friends that I’d meet each morning became my little blogging community as we encouraged each other and praised each other for the amazing ideas picked for themes.  This year I really will miss this part of the Challenge.  I’ll still be visiting A to Z Bloggers and hoping that I’ll continue to make new friends.  

All 26 posts for the A to Z Blog Challenge, along with the comments, can be seen by clicking HERE ~ or by clicking on the Title below. 

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My Life Is My Masterpiece ~ Lessons Learned

My theme for the A to Z Blog Challenge @AprilA2Z during the month of April is ~ My Life Is My Masterpiece ~ Lessons Learned.  For each of the 26 Days (with Sundays off) I’ll be posting a word that begins with each letter of the alphabet that fits my theme.   This blog/website has become one way to share about myself to my children, my grandchildren and my extended family who are scattered all over the country and the world.  Hopefully, anyone who reads this will be in some way blessed by my throwing my words out onto the World Wide Web and into the Universe.  

 My About Page gives me the focus so that, as I age, I don’t forget what I worked so hard to learn.  It’s going to be fun and challenging!   I hope you’ll stick with me as I strive to meet my goal!!

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* Note:  My letter sketches were made from ideas I found on Google Images. *

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Blogger Users can also follow me at atozchallenge2016.blogspot.com

 

Me in the Middle of Summer Reading

 

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First Book

This poem moved me so deeply that I followed up with a Google search and found that Dawna Markova had written a  book by the same title.  “Why are we here?” is the question she asks both herself and the reader of this wonderful book ~ I WILL NOT DIE AN UNLIVED LIFE ~.  It’s written while Dawna is on a retreat to solitude in a cabin far away from the hectic pace of modern life.  Her story travels along different paths than mine has and that’s the whole point of her book.  We’re here to follow our own passion and dreams.

“Anyone on a spiritual quest, seeking to discover their own deep wisdom, and uncover their “calling” will be enriched and energized in a powerful and gentle way……”

(Forward)

“Like the rest of the natural world, human beings go through seasons.  At one point, we are in the full bloom of summer, harvesting, committed, in abundance.  Then, naturally there is an autumnal time of falling away, disillusionment, stagnation, a shedding of what has been used up.  Then must come the fallowness and dormancy of winter, death, rest.  Eventually, as is happening right outside the window of this cabin, there is a great melting into muck and mud, which, if one can persevere, opens naturally into an abundant yellow-green time, when everything is possible and horizons open.”

~ Dawna Markova ~

“In a similar way to A Gift from the Sea, the readers of this book (I Will Not Live An Unlived Life) are invited to accompany me on a journey to come to know more intimately the value and purpose of their lives.”

~ Dawna Markova ~

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Men, Women and Happiness Cropped (2)

Ink Sketch and Watercolor by Mary Lou Q

Second Book

Gift from the Sea #3

Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s bookGIFT FROM THE SEA ~ was shared with me by my mother back in the 90’s.  I packed myself a lunch and took a ride to the beach, setting up my chair in front of the ocean.  It was a restful day that I needed badly and I hoped to find nuggets of wisdom and truth from this book.  At the time it was difficult for me to concentrate on it.  I kept thinking ‘How can this wealthy woman whose life is so different than mine even relate to what I’m experiencing?’  It’s only been down through the years and coming across Anne’s various quotes from her book that I’ve decided to read it again.  Dawna Markova read it to inspire her book ‘I Will Not Live An Unlived Life’ and I decided to read them both this summer.

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The Introduction to the Fiftieth Anniversary Edition of Gift from the Sea (2005)  is written by Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s daughter, Reeve Lindbergh:

“I read Gift from the Sea at all Seasons of the Year and of my life.  I never once had the sense that my mother’s 1955 book has lost its freshness, or that the wisdom contained within its pages has ceased to apply, whether to my own life or to what I’ve learned , overtime, about hers.”

“Above all, I think, Gift from the Sea offers its readers an unusual kind of freedom.  It is hard to recognize, or even to describe, but I think this freedom is the real reason this book continues to be so well loved and so well read after all these years.  I am talking about the freedom that comes from choosing to remain open, as my mother did, to life itself, whatever it may bring:  Joys, sorrows, triumphs, failures, suffering, comfort and, certainly, always, change.”

Thanks, Mom!  I get it!  

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A Gift from the Sea

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Third Book

Francis Friendship

Francis Mandewah is one of my Guest Bloggers

Me in the Middle introducing Guest Blogger ~ Francis

I was so inspired by what Francis wrote in his guest blog that I bought his book on Amazon Kindle and I’ve just begun reading it.  His story begins with his life as a 15 year old young man in the African country of Sierra Leone and in the heart of the African diamond zone.  His story too is a spiritual journey of trust in goodness in the world in spite of the hardships and realities that might come along.  It’s his trust in this goodness that makes it possible for Francis to be fully present when God opens a door in his life that leads him to the path of his dreams.

“As I chronicled my trials and tribulations I discovered my voice in between the lines of my story ~ a voice that was filled with faith.”

~ Francis Mandewah ~

“I suppose this dream has been the script for my life, because even as I sit, no matter where I am or what I’m doing, I always feel a tinge of uncertainty, as if I’m eternally looking for a flight itinerary. I have lived a life filled with the adventure of being ushered onto stage and the turmoil of being blindfolded and locked in a cage. Through my travels, my willingness to walk to and through the door, I discovered within myself a will to not just survive, but to thrive, no matter the circumstance.”

Blood Diamond ~ Sierra Leone

“There are people who are kind, and people who are not kind, among all races and cultures. It was a White man who gave me opportunity so I could realize the American dream.  Our friendship transcended race, and built a positive connection between the races. We can overcome racism through friendship and positive cross-cultural relationships.  “

 

Me in the Middle of a Sibling Reunion

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Siblings #5

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It had been over two years ago that we siblings had gotten together in a group.  We were due another reunion before anymore years slipped by and we lost the chance for all four to be in the same place.  My sister and I have a birthday tradition of treating each other to lunch  and catching up on the family news.  My older brother, R, started the ball rolling for a old family photo sharing reunion.  He had been telling us for quite some time that he had some great family-photo stash and we kept urging him to share with his siblings.  The rest of us were lamenting that we had so few photos of our childhood and some of the pics were in pretty bad shape.  So the date was set for the four of us all to travel to our sibling reunion and find out exactly what photos my brother, R, had in his possession all these years.

'So, it's equal.'

‘So, it’s equal.’

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We all got busy  searching through our old family photos of when we were growing up ….. scanning and editing, preparing for the big day that we would see the stash that my brother had held all these years.  We weren’t disappointed!  There were pictures of each of us that we’d never seen before all neatly arranged in a photo album.  We’ll all be getting copies of these fantastic memories of our shared childhood experiences thanks to my youngest brother’s wife, L, who has been gathering family photos and ancestry information for all of us.

Siblings #8

Thinking of our big brother RIP 5/25/2012

After spending the day  with my brothers and sister sharing all these old family photos and just being grateful for each other and life, I read this post on the following morning and it reminded me of us. It was a moment of Grace. We’re strong, good people who have tried to do what’s right and be there for each other.  The post below reminds me of our Journey together.

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What it Really Means to Hold Space for Someone

By Heather Plett on Sunday May 8th, 2016

How to be there for the people who need you most

When my Mom was dying, my siblings and I gathered to be with her in her final days. None of us knew anything about supporting someone in her transition out of this life into the next, but we were pretty sure we wanted to keep her at home, so we did.

While we supported Mom, we were, in turn, supported by a gifted palliative care nurse, Ann, who came every few days to care for Mom and to talk to us about what we could expect in the coming days. She taught us how to inject Mom with morphine when she became restless, she offered to do the difficult tasks (like giving Mom a bath), and she gave us only as much information as we needed about what to do with Mom’s body after her spirit had passed.

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The author with her mother

“Take your time,” she said. “You don’t need to call the funeral home until you’re ready. Gather the people who will want to say their final farewells. Sit with your mom as long as you need to. When you’re ready, call and they will come to pick her up.”

Ann gave us an incredible gift in those final days. Though it was an excruciating week, we knew that we were being held by someone who was only a phone call away.

In the two years since then, I’ve often thought about Ann and the important role she played in our lives. She was much more than what can fit in the title of “palliative care nurse”. She was facilitator, coach, and guide. By offering gentle, nonjudgmental support and guidance, she helped us walk one of the most difficult journeys of our lives.

The work that Ann did can be defined by a term that’s become common in some of the circles in which I work. She was holding space for us.

Alt text hereLearning to hold space for others

What does it mean to “hold space” for someone else?

It means that we are willing to walk alongside another person in whatever journey they’re on without judging them, making them feel inadequate, trying to fix them, or trying to impact the outcome. When we hold space for other people, we open our hearts, offer unconditional support, and let go of judgement and control.

Sometimes we find ourselves holding space for people while they hold space for others. In our situation, for example, Ann was holding space for us while we held space for Mom. Though I know nothing about her support system, I suspect that there are others holding space for Ann as she does this challenging and meaningful work. It’s virtually impossible to be a strong space holder unless we have others who will hold space for us. Even the strongest leaders, coaches, nurses, etc., need to know that there are some people with whom they can be vulnerable and weak without fear of being judged.

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Understanding the essence of holding space for others

In my own roles as teacher, facilitator, coach, mother, wife, and friend, etc., I do my best tohold space for other people in the same way that Ann modeled it for me and my siblings. It’s not always easy, because I have a very human tendency to want to fix people, give them advice, or judge them for not being further along the path than they are, but I keep trying because I know that it’s important. At the same time, there are people in my life that I trust to hold space for me.

To truly support people in their own growth, transformation, grief, etc., we can’t do it by taking their power away (ie. trying to fix their problems), shaming them (ie. implying that they should know more than they do), or overwhelming them (ie. giving them more information than they’re ready for). We have to be prepared to step to the side so that they can make their own choices, offer them unconditional love and support, give gentle guidance when it’s needed, and make them feel safe even when they make mistakes.

Holding space is not something that’s exclusive to facilitators, coaches, or palliative care nurses. It is something that ALL of us can do for each other – for our partners, children, friends, neighbours, and even strangers who strike up conversations as we’re riding the bus to work.

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Every day is an opportunity to hold space for the people around us

8 Tips to Help You Hold Space for Others

Here are the lessons I’ve learned from Ann and others who have held space for me.

1. Give people permission to trust their own intuition and wisdom. When we were supporting Mom in her final days, we had no experience to rely on, and yet, intuitively, we knew what was needed. We knew how to carry her shrinking body to the washroom, we knew how to sit and sing hymns to her, and we knew how to love her. We even knew when it was time to inject the medication that would help ease her pain. In a very gentle way, Ann let us know that we didn’t need to do things according to some arbitrary health care protocol – we simply needed to trust our intuition and accumulated wisdom from the many years we’d loved Mom.

2. Give people only as much information as they can handle. Ann gave us some simple instructions and left us with a few handouts, but did not overwhelm us with far more than we could process in our tender time of grief. Too much information would have left us feeling incompetent and unworthy.

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Knowing how much information to give people in times of grief

3. Don’t take their power away. When we take decision-making power out of people’s hands, we leave them feeling useless and incompetent. There may be some times when we need to step in and make hard decisions for other people (ie. when they’re dealing with an addiction and an intervention feels like the only thing that will save them), but in almost every other case, people need the autonomy to make their own choices (even our children). Ann knew that we needed to feel empowered in making decisions on our Mom’s behalf, and so she offered support but never tried to direct or control us.

4. Keep your own ego out of it. This is a big one. We all get caught in that trap now and then – when we begin to believe that someone else’s success is dependent on our intervention, or when we think that their failure reflects poorly on us, or when we’re convinced that whatever emotions they choose to unload on us are about us instead of them. It’s a trap I’ve occasionally found myself slipping into when I teach. I can become more concerned about my own success (Do the students like me? Do their marks reflect on my ability to teach? Etc.) than about the success of my students. But that doesn’t serve anyone – not even me. To truly support their growth, I need to keep my ego out of it and create the space where they have the opportunity to grow and learn.

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Keep your own ego out of it

5. Make them feel safe enough to fail. When people are learning, growing, or going through grief or transition, they are bound to make some mistakes along the way. When we, as their space holders, withhold judgement and shame, we offer them the opportunity to reach inside themselves to find the courage to take risks and the resilience to keep going even when they fail. When we let them know that failure is simply a part of the journey and not the end of the world, they’ll spend less time beating themselves up for it and more time learning from their mistakes.

6. Give guidance and help with humility and thoughtfulness. A wise space holder knows when to withhold guidance (ie. when it makes a person feel foolish and inadequate) and when to offer it gently (ie. when a person asks for it or is too lost to know what to ask for). Though Ann did not take our power or autonomy away, she did offer to come and give Mom baths and do some of the more challenging parts of caregiving. This was a relief to us, as we had no practice at it and didn’t want to place Mom in a position that might make her feel shame (ie. having her children see her naked). This is a careful dance that we all must do when we hold space for other people. Recognizing the areas in which they feel most vulnerable and incapable and offering the right kind of help without shaming them takes practice and humility.

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A wise space holder knows when to withhold guidance and when to offer it gently

7. Create a container for complex emotions, fear, trauma, etc. When people feel that they are held in a deeper way than they are used to, they feel safe enough to allow complex emotions to surface that might normally remain hidden. Someone who is practiced atholding space knows that this can happen and will be prepared to hold it in a gentle, supportive, and nonjudgmental way. In The Circle Way, we talk about “holding the rim” for people.

The circle becomes the space where people feel safe enough to fall apart without fearing that this will leave them permanently broken or that they will be shamed by others in the room. Someone is always there to offer strength and courage. This is not easy work, and it is work that I continue to learn about as I host increasingly more challenging conversations. We cannot do it if we are overly emotional ourselves, if we haven’t done the hard work of looking into our own shadow, or if we don’t trust the people we are holding space for. In Ann’s case, she did this by showing up with tenderness, compassion, and confidence. If she had shown up in a way that didn’t offer us assurance that she could handle difficult situations or that she was afraid of death, we wouldn’t have been able to trust her as we did.

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The circle becomes the space where people feel safe enough to fall apart

8. Allow them to make different decisions and to have different experiences than you would. Holding space is about respecting each person’s differences and recognising that those differences may lead to them making choices that we would not make. Sometimes, for example, they make choices based on cultural norms that we can’t understand from within our own experience. When we hold space, we release control and we honour differences. This showed up, for example, in the way that Ann supported us in making decisions about what to do with Mom’s body after her spirit was no longer housed there. If there had been some ritual that we felt we needed to conduct before releasing her body, we were free to do that in the privacy of Mom’s home.

Holding space is not something that we can master overnight, or that can be adequately addressed in a list of tips like the ones I’ve just offered. It’s a complex practice that evolves as we practice it, and it is unique to each person and each situation.

How do you feel about this article? .
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Rich , Me, Eileen and Steve (2)
 Oldest to Youngest, left to right ~ R, Me, E, S
Big brother, J, passed away in May 2012
If he was with us I would be in the middle of the five of us.

♥  ♥   ♥   ♥   ♥

Me In The Middle Sharing Life Stories

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On May  12th I posted This Invitation to Guest Bloggers welcoming anyone who feels inspired to share a story about their life that gives inspiration and hope to the rest of us along this journey of life.  Some have already shown interest and I’m looking forward to reading and sharing what they write.  You can add your interest and desire to join us by adding your comment at the bottom of the Invitations post (HERE)

Here’s one of my sharing-of-life-stories.  It’s about 1,900 words.  Anything under 2,000 words is a good length for the Guest Blogger post.  Hope to hear from you!  🙂  

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When I was growing up, family meant to me a strong sense of belonging.  We were secured tightly in the certainty and pride of our town, our church and our country.  That was during the forties and fifties when families could find comfort in the knowledge that they were surrounded by the shared values of the wider community.

I was the middle child and the first daughter among five children, and I felt safe going about my life, navigating around my town.  When I returned home, our mother was always there for us and our father traveled to and from NYC working at the New York Herald Tribune.  Our routines rarely changed: Mass on Sundays; three meals a day at the same time each day when we were all home; and holidays celebrated in the same way each year.  There was very little lively debate on the current events of our country, and mealtime was usually spent listening to Mom who tried to keep the tone of the conversation positive and upbeat.  She was also the one who took the time to point out to her children the wonderful gift that the natural world provided us.  She stopped to point out and pass on knowledge about nature.  Our own backyard provided plenty of lessons about the miracles in nature.   There were many trips to the county parks, and nearby lakes and beaches.  I’d enjoyed exploring the waters, woods and beaches searching for shells, crayfish, frogs, fish and turtles with my brother.  There were lots of books in our home for learning about the natural world.

My first stirrings of political awareness showed up when we went to a campaign rally at the Teaneck Armory in NJ for John F. Kennedy who was running for President against Richard M. Nixon.  Standing outside in the massive crowd waiting for him to arrive, my sister and I came up with a chant:  “Jack be nimble. Jack be quick.  Jack’s the one whose gonna beat Dick.”  Our family was proud of the Democratic Party that was going to work towards electing the first Catholic President.

Family togetherness was a lot more challenging when I was in my 20’s and 30’s.    Although I did strive to maintain the routines of holidays and the continuity of tradition within my own family, our lives were affected by the outside social fabric that was unraveling.  The certainty and safety that was the theme of the fifties shifted through the unknowns and the upheavals of the sixties.  The swift changes within church and community, along with the questions raised by the horrors of the Vietnam War and the assassinations of JFK, Martin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy shook the foundations of our belief in an unshakable country.  The sexual revolution swirled around the family unit and there was open debate on long-held beliefs about family, church and country.  These were the headwinds that blew through my own life and that of my family.

I continued, in the true spirit of the middle child, to seek the middle ground as these outside forces played against the economic realities of the 70’s and the challenges of raising a large family.  A sense of belonging was created by my creating a flexible team spirit and planning family events that brought us together.  I was able to pass on the lessons my mother taught me to my own children, especially the wonder of our natural environment as a source of comfort and refreshment.

During those uncertain times many marriages ended in divorce.  That trend has continued and increased.  When my marriage joined the statistics, I (a homemaker with no college education) became the sole provider and nurturer of my five sons, ages 16 down to 5 years old.  It was a time of hardship and heartache when we lost our home and a steady income, as well as the spouse and father we had thought was there for us.  Though I didn’t actually feel it at the time, I promised my sons that we were going to make it through O.K.  In reality, our life was becoming a classic case for crisis intervention with no clear answers in sight.

My birth family lived a distance away from my home in Upstate New York and, as the political scene continued to unfold through those turbulent years, what was once our family’s political party of the Democrats shifted to the “certainty” of the conservative Republican Party ….. These shifters being dubbed “Reagan Democrats”.

My reality, and immediate focus, was on the urgency of meeting the basic needs of me and my family.  What was happening in the political scene was not even on the fringes of my awareness or interest other than fleeting images on the news.   In a new area for only a year, without any friends and family, I continued to plod through the trenches of what was real for us.  While I was seeking a means to house, feed and clothe my family, the political and social climate continued to wrestle with the opposing extremes of how family, church and country fit into the changing scheme of things.

This was a very lonely and isolating time for my sons and me.  I found it very difficult to share the severity of my own situation with my family.  When I would try I felt it was too disturbing for them to hear and that I was expected to deal with things on my own with strength and faith.  When your burdens grow heavy, ask God for strength…. And I did.  Each had their own hardships and realities, and I found it less conflicting to not talk much about it with them and just do what I had to do.   I was emotionally drained and overwhelmed with the upheaval that had become our lives.

At the time, I hadn’t even considered the political ideology playing out within my own family during the Reagan years, pitting welfare assistance and social issues against the re-building of America into the Shining City upon the Hill.  I felt that our life had become an altered state of existence residing invisibly alongside the lives of people going about the normal daily routines.

Family has always meant to me the realization that people care about you and are there for you through good and bad times.  It’s a complex mix of people and experiences that join us together in a strong circle of respect and love.  Family is, for me, not limited to having identical beliefs about family, church and country.  It’s more about sharing a belief and faith that somehow we’ll all make it through together.

And yes, my sons and I did make it through to a safer place, a stronger place.  I can embrace each one of them and truly say, “I respect you for the man you’ve become.”  They are each living lives that have evolved from their own convictions.  One son chose a career in law enforcement and lives with his family in Arizona.  Another son, a cardiologist, lives here in Virginia with his family  Two of my sons are teachers, one lives with his family in Brooklyn teaching art to elementary and middle school students and one who moved to the Middle East with his family to teach English to Arab-speaking students.  And another son has pursued his grandfather’s and uncle’s love for journalism while enjoying the physical labor of carpentry and landscaping.

Given the history of my experiences I’m no longer able to adhere to any absolute position on family, church or country.  I want to meet people where they are in life and accept that this is where their life has brought them.  My love of family, church and country has brought me to a place where I can recognize the flaws as well as the strengths within these very human institutions.  I hope for unity, but no longer expect it.  True to my middle child, common ground nature, I remain an undeclared moderate voter, who has seen conservatives, liberals, republicans and democrats all do very stupid things.  Today some say that John F. Kennedy would be a conservative republican.  I say, considering the lives and views of his wife, daughter and son who built their views on his legacy, he would most likely be a moderate like me.  My birth family is divided into conservative republicans, a green republican, me in the middle, and my oldest brother, a self-described “tree-hugging liberal” who speaks from life-long environmental experience.  Each of us seeks a better world for our children and grandchildren though we passionately disagree on how to achieve it and what that world will look like.  All of us share a deep, abiding love of nature and the wonderful world God has given us.  Though the levels of our role in preserving these gifts may differ, hopefully, we can escape the polarizing and hostile political climate of today and learn from each other’s experiences, hopes and visions.   In families, as well as political systems, there’s always room for compromise.

Family means sticking together while listening to and respecting each other’s hopes and fears.  It works best when everyone comes together.  It means shared sacrifice, shared struggle, as well as shared plenty and shared joys.  It’s not always easy to respect another’s personal boundaries and their own knowledge of what’s best for them while, at the same time, standing ready to advise and guide them when the need is there.

Family is where you arrive at the end of the road, literally and figuratively.  It can be one person or many people.  It can be physical or spiritual.  Sometimes family means putting aside what we want, and taking hold of what needs to be done in order to survive.  Sometimes it means asking others to share in the burdens of a common family need.  Family provides the best cushion an individual can have as he or she travels through life’s complexities.  All this needs nurturing, it needs educating, and it needs the support and guidance of church and country.

While I have had doubts and questions along the way, I’ve continued to believe in a God at the core of it all who is nudging me forward with the messages “This too shall pass” and “I am always with you”, along with the hope that we’ll all make it through.

Are we, as individuals and families, at the effect of what is going on in the greater world?  Yes and no!  We always have a choice.  Yet social and political movements can, and do, move us along and pull us into the mainstream of what’s going on in the greater world.  There’s no doubt that choices and decisions made can set us off down a new path, inspired by the times, and without clear outcomes in sight.  Salient risks?   What’s taking place in the public realm at a given period in time can effect and transform the private worlds of those living during that time.  The trick is to know when to hold firm to a foundation and when to move forward and take that risk, weighing how the possible effects of that risk could affect those around you.

The changes I’ve seen through my life, the bad times and the good times, have convinced me that God is not a conservative nor a liberal, not a republican or a democrat.  God is family, who loves us all and is always with us.

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Wells State Park

On May 12th I posted An Invitation to Guest Bloggers.  This is my sharing of an ‘Arrival’ story where I’ve reached a point in my life of acceptance, peace and contentment.  It’s a bit longer than I usually post (around 1,900 words).  

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