THE JOY OF FAMILY
Soldiers To Supper
For several years when I was a little girl, our family invited servicemen home for Christmas. These young men were in training before being sent to VietNam. They were young, a long way from home and facing an uncertain future about which they had mixed feelings. Besides being glad they came in pairs, so Mandy and I each had “our own guy”, I remember being told how much we reminded them of their little sisters (translation: similarly annoying) and how homesick they were.
Funny how we long for the familiar, even when it is uncomfortable.
Propinquity: Nearness / Affiliation
“Merry Christmas, Darling” by the Carpenters
“Merry Christmas darling We’re apart that’s true
But I can dream and in my dreams I’m Christmas-ing with you
Holidays are joyful There’s always something new But every day’s a holiday When I’m near to you
The lights on my tree I wish you could see
I wish it every day
Logs on the fire Fill me with desire
To see you and to say
That I wish you Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, too
I’ve just one wish On this Christmas Eve,
I wish I was with you, I wish I was with you!”
Longing for who would turn out to be Gil
“Love the One You’re With” by Stephen Stills
“Well there’s a rose in the fisted glove and the eagle flies with the dove, and if you can’t be with the one you love, honey, love the one you’re with, love the one you’re with, love the one you’re with, love the one you’re with.”
Hard to fly with eagles when you’re stuck on the ground surrounded by turkeys!
Home Is Where…
The heart is.
If you have to go there, they have to let you in.
Big Family Welcome for wedding – this is where we learned real life lessons.
From our folks we learned values like honor, integrity, patience, perseverance, loyalty, fidelity.
From our siblings we learned skills like how to fight fair, how to love the ones you fight with, how to share, how to stand up for yourself.
We never had any illusions about how important we were, we knew that we would get the attention and recognition we deserved based on our contribution to our families and to the world.
This couple saw their family of origin as a sturdy launching pad for the rest of their lives and a foundation for both their marriage and the family they would lovingly create together.
You Can’t Go Home Again
Thomas Wolfe wrote the story about a fellow who immortalized his hometown in a book only to find his family and neighbors more than a little unhappy with the characterization! He had become unwelcome and so could not go home again.
Others of us have a Zen-like experience going home and realizing that it can’t ever be the same because we’re not the same and neither is anyone else, and some of the old relationships don’t even exist anymore, so it’s like not being able to step into the same river twice.
And then there are those of us who go home for the holidays only to have the same old dramas and dynamics playing out all over again with no perceptible difference whatsoever!
Someone I know is seventy and is still having conversations and frustrations with her mother who is almost 100 that they have had for fifty years!
There’s a man in his eighties struggling with being abandoned by his father when he was a child.
And a lady whose mother has recently passed on who is in anguish over misunderstandings that happened decades ago and were never resolved.
The greatest pain we will ever know seems to come from family, so why am I talking about the joy?
One of the ways they have taken pro football to new levels of fan participation is through the phenomenon of Fantasy Football. My limited understanding of this is that you get to draft your own team from among players available today, and then, based on their real life performance on the gridiron, outcomes of imaginary games are predicted.
Sometimes we wish we could do a similar thing with our family, casting real or fictional characters as Mom, Dad, siblings and extended relatives.
Wow! Maybe I just had a great idea for a new board game, reality show or virtual reality Wii experience! Monopoly taught us about finance. Chess teaches warfare. This could revolutionize family and ACOA co-dependent no more therapy! Think of the possibilities!
How We Heal
What has to happen in us to transform the pain and frustration into joy?
Is it even possible?
I believe it is not only possible, it is required and explains why we are together in the first place!
Turtles lay thousands of eggs and waddle off without ever looking back.
Males of many species are lone creatures, invited in to mate, then banished again because of their tendency to eat their young!
The species who live together in families with extended communities do so for one reason and one reason only –
How is it that some of us can go for our entire lives without ever discovering any benefit whatsoever?
We have learned all we need to through pain and suffering…
Specific changes in mental constructs and emotional responses will be required.
Miki Kashtan in the Consciousness Transforming Community outline a series of commitments one might make to effect this change on a personal and global level…
Assumption Of Innocence
Even when others’ actions or words make no sense to me or frighten me, I want to assume a need-based human intention behind them. If I find myself attributing ulterior motives or analyzing others’ actions, I want to seek support to ground myself in the clarity that every human action is an attempt to meet needs no different from my own.
Remember how it feels to be accused…(guilty or not)
Remember that we actually create what we are looking for…(self-fulfilling prophecies)
Remember that past performance is no guarantee of future returns…(like they say in the prospectus!)
Every behavior strategy is either a gift of love or a request for love.
What need, that I also share, is behind this behavior?
NOBODY is mean, greedy, stupid, malicious, vindictive, jealous, small-minded or spiteful – null sets!
Originating premise – pure goodness!
Even when I have many obstacles to connecting with someone, I want to make myself available to work out issues between us with support from others. If I find myself giving up on someone, I want to seek support to remember the magic of dialogue and entrust myself to the process of healing and reconciliation to restore connection.
Remember what Emmet Fox said about enough love healing it all…(nothing too big or bad)
Remember the law of attraction again…(if I think it can be resolved, it CAN)
Combining these two commitments opens my heart, affirms my humanity, gives me peace, allows me to give and receive love freely.
This action I take on another’s behalf ends up blessing me more than I could possibly imagine!
Two Old Souls Sitting On God’s Porch…
I’d like to share a personal story of healing between me and my mom…
It came to me in meditation or a dream, I’m not sure which. It was an altered state of consciousness at any rate.
We were disincorporated souls between incarnations, planning our next life together.
We’d done this countless times: sometimes we were parent and child, sometimes siblings, sometimes, husband and wife, sometimes lovers, sometimes friends, sometimes enemies!
What shall we do next? one of us said. What’s left? replied the other? I know, let’s be mother and daughter again! What do you want to explore? How about power and trust this time? Okay! Sounds great! Which one do you want to be? And so we choreographed the dance we would do together.
I told my mom this story several years ago and she said “How’d we do?” I said “We haven’t missed a beat. Not one step was out of line. We did it perfectly.” She asked me what was next. I told her we get to just hang out for the rest of this one and enjoy each other. Lesson learned. Job complete. Relax a little and just love. She liked that, I think.
Do I really believe this? Is it really true? Who cares!
Absolutely true story, may or may not be accurate. It doesn’t matter to us because we’re healed!
Was it the surgery or the medicine or the prayer? Who cares?
Sing Me My Song, Will You?
Jack Kornfield tells a story about a primitive tribe somewhere in the world today.
When mom learns she is pregnant, she goes away by herself to hear the baby’s song.
Then she teaches it to the father.
Then to the women of the village, extended family, midwives.
They all sing it to the baby when she is born.
Throughout the child’s life her song is sung on every anniversary of her birth, at every milestone and celebration too.
If she loses her way, makes grave mistakes or falls into depression, the whole village gathers round to sing her back to herself.
And when she is lying on her deathbed, preparing for her journey out of this life, her song is sung one last time.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could hear each others songs and sing them?
Wouldn’t you love to hear the people in your family sing your song to you?
Wouldn’t it be great if when we are tired or lonely or scared we could go to someone we love and say “sing me my song will you please?”
Sing me my song, will you? Sing me my song, will you? Sing me my song, will you, please?
Let’s give each other that gift this Christmas, okay?