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Saturday, October 13, 2012

Nothing like family

Last weekend, I attended my cousin's wedding in Colorado.  The weather was chilly and cold, so the ceremony had to be moved inside where everyone could stay warm and dry.  In typical fashion, my brother, sister, nephews and I were running late, and so we arrived just as the wedding party was moving down the center aisle in between the tables set up for the reception which was to take place afterwards.  We quietly entered through the kitchen area and stood by the bar as we watched the ceremony take place.  Across from us on the other side of the reception hall sat the entire family from my mother's side, and we waved to some of them as they turned their heads to see who had just come in.  My youngest brother was standing as an usher in the wedding, and just happened to be positioned in the back of the hall where we entered.  It had been awhile since all of us had been out together as a family, and to be surrounded by all of our extended relatives, it was impossible not to feel good and connected to what is most important.

I am very close to my sister and brothers.  I feel fortunate to have them in my life.  Every time I see them I can't help but feel buoyant and elated, and wanting to spend as much quality time with them as possible.  They bring out the best in me (most of the time), and the love I feel for them swells and runs over whenever I'm around them.  No matter what is going on in their lives, I know they'll be there for me if I'm down, and they know I'll be there for them.  And that's what families are for, to ground us to what's most important, which is the love that we share for one another.  Mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, nephews and nieces, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins, these are our life long assignments.  These relationships last a lifetime, the family you are born into was chosen for you (or you chose them, depending on what you believe), because the people in those families offer you the perfect opportunity to evolve to your highest potential.  They teach you life lessons, sometimes these lessons are painful and destructive, especially if there is abuse involved, or illness, or dysfunctional behavioral patterns, but it's all geared and organized towards our highest good.  We just have to discover what it is.  This is not always easy, and can take a lifetime to learn. Sometimes we lose touch with our parents, or siblings, or create feuds that can last for decades, but behind this pain, anger, and confusion, are lessons we are intended to learn so that we can grow in love and expand our understanding and awareness of what it means to be human.

Whenever we are around family, we reconnect to the source of our earthly existence.  All of our ancestors are present with us, for without them, we would not have been.  They stand beside us as we hug our aunt, or hold a conversation with our uncle, or reminisce about our past follies with our cousin.  They look on tenderly from beyond, and smile with gratitude that their family still comes together, to share all that is good between them.  I'm fortunate to have a family whose love is unconditional.  You can see it in their eyes, in their gestures, in their smiles, and for a few hours, all the troubles we all may be having in our respective lives is forgotten, and we get to celebrate the life we have and the life we share.

The wedding was beautiful, and the celebration afterwards was even better.  We drank, we laughed, we caught up with each others' lives, we reminisced about old times, and we comforted each other in the losses we experienced.  Family has a way of resetting the button for us because we remember who we are and where we came from, and why life is so worth living.  I am truly blessed to have such a wonderful, kind, generous, and loving family.

And finally, I want to say something to my sister and her son, my brother and his son, and my youngest brother:  No matter where you are, no matter what you do, no matter how high or low you go (preferably high, though, go high!), I'll be there.  You are enough just the way you are.