There were twelve of us for dinner. A baker’s dozen if you count Emma, the delightful four-legged who loved us all up, and was generous with her toys. We were blessed with three of our family’s remaining elders, a pair of newlyweds, two long married couples, a duo of articulate, engaging young adults, and myself.
The food was wonderful. It was an honor to be served and cared for rather than being the responsible one. Conversation and laughter rolled the swell of a gentle sea. All of that would have been enough, and it was so much more.
For the relatively short span of decades that I myself have attended, the table, flavors, and family members have produced an abundance of constantly evolving patterns and configurations. If you listened carefully, it was possible to hear echoes of voices no longer present, speaking through those that continue.
Generational divides, differing perspectives, personality quirks, fashion trends, and a wealth of conversational topics, rode the currents of self discovery, inspiration, laughter, healing, and a sense of shared history. Our perceptions about events, stories, wounds, or joys and the way we have made sense of, or peace with them may differ vastly, but there is no denying the interconnectedness of our roots.
Magic woven by threads entwined. A sense of order and wonderment, of dismembered parts restored. Amidst the evidence of eternally recurring resurrection of wisdom, humor and love, we were also joined by uninvited guests.
Impeccably dressed and on their best behavior, Congestive Heart Failure, and other obvious frailties clearly made their presence known. They ate not a morsel, yet their greed was apparent in the volumes spoken by their silence about the changes yet to come.
Looking around, it was obvious that those present felt a profound sense of belonging and identity. I searched the longing of my heart, half expecting to find some remnant of the usual feeling of being on the outside looking in. Instead, I found nothing more than a desire for a beloved by my side. For the first time there was a recognition that I too provide an essential piece in the mosaic of family. I am grateful for this blessing without regret, which from the looks of things, has arrived impeccably on time.