Thoughts From East Aurora

Our family is visiting Carol’s twin sister’s family in East Aurora, New York.  We made the five hour car ride together yesterday to attend cousin Drew’s high school graduation celebration.  I set a goal for myself to write a post on the road, just to be able to say that I did.  I’m a geek, no need to deny it.

There are no great themes from this trip to report at this time; I’m still to close to the event, living within the experience of this weekend.  Following are some of the thoughts and observations so far:

1. Yesterday, I awoke before the rest of my family to do my morning chores and pack for the trip.  I also made my way to my study, as is my habit, to do my daily prayer journalling.  I’ve learned to start my journalling first in scripture.  I’ve been reading Genesis, and I was up to Genesis 50.  It came as a surprise to me to discover that 50 was the last chapter in the book of Genesis.  Later, as I was reflecting on the back porch, I was reminded of Carol’s observation that this trip to East Aurora may be the last time that was travel as a complete family with all three of our children.  Erika is 19 and in college, Brett is 18 and planning to attend college after his upcoming senior high school year, and Derek will be starting high school next year.  This thought also came as a surprise to me.

I’m saddened by that thought.  I wish we had done more travelling together in the season of childhood.  This is the end of an important chapter in the life of my family.  Still, we did the best we could at the time and there’s no opportunity to go back and change the past.  I’m grateful for the opportunity to travel together, and I pray that this will be a happy trip where we can grow closer, sharing with and listening to each other.

2. We went out to dinner last night at a diner located on the shore of Lake Erie in Hamburg, NY.  The kids sat at a separate table from the adults.  It was amazing to see the cousins all sitting and talking together.  They’ve all grown and changed so much.  They only get to see each other very occasionally due to the large distance between our homes, yet they talked with in an easy and familiar way.  Yet it was different as well; they had a lot of catching up to do, filling each other in on the happenings and changes that have occurred over the past year.

Sitting and watching them, I became aware of those changes.  The changes are gradual, one small step each day, but over time those steps add up to a great journey.  It’s easy to loose track of those small steps of growth in the daily hustle and noise of life.  It’s good to be able to participate in these family gatherings, to come back together after time spent apart.  Old perceptions and beliefs can be challenged.  We can see those we spend our lives with in new ways, letting go of old, out-dated peridines and allowing them new space to accept their growth and change.  It gives us space, if we’re open to it, to see them as who they are, not who we believe they are.

3. That knowledge helped me to gain insight into my relationship with Carol this morning.  We’ve had a couple disagreements over the past few days that resulted in Carol stating, “You always…”  Fill in the blank.  (The specifics of the arguments aren’t important, the insight from our discussions are).  It’s a familiar argument.  We’ve danced to this tune a million times before.  This time, I defended my view that I’ve changed, that she’s right that I used to fill in the blank, but I’ve changed and no longer do blank.  I challenged her to give me a recent example of my bad behavior, and she couldn’t do it in the moment.  So I encouraged her to point it out the next time that I do it.  We’re still waiting on that example.

The insight this morning?  I am changed.  I’m not perfect, and I can’t say that I’m even a better person than I used to be.  But just as our children have changed and grown, yet are still themselves, so have I changed.  I was given the space and the confidence to accept my change, regardless of Carol’s opinion.  I’m grateful for that change, which is the work of our Higher Power, and the peace I felt in my heart at recognizing myself.  Carol is still more comfortable holding to her old way of seeing us.  It’s not my place to make her change.  I love her, and I’m grateful for the grace and patience I’m given to see live with the differences that we share in our marriage.

4. Cousin Drew’s graduation is going on as I finish this post.  He has lived with difficulties in his family life, and I’m impressed with how strong he is.  He has turned out far different from what I predicted when he was just a boy.  Thank You Father.  That strength has come at the cost of his trust and intimacy.  He’s only just turned 18, so perhaps I’m expecting far too much of him.  Still, as a loving uncle who is amazed at the teenager soon to be a young man that he has become, my prayer for him is that he learns before too long that true happiness and fulfillment comes from allowing yourself to be vulnerable to the others in your life.  Living with an open heart will be painful, but it’s the only way to live a full and abundant life.

Signing-off from East Aurora,

Dug

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One Response

  1. ” … my prayer for him is that he learns before too long that true happiness and fulfillment comes from allowing yourself to be vulnerable to the others in your life. Living with an open heart will be painful, but it’s the only way to live a full and abundant life. ”

    Amen Dug…

    Our Lord’s example on the cross is a model for our daily lives, i.e., live your life with your arms outstreched and ready to embrace the pain and suffering that comes your way. It makes the joy and happiness that also comes that much sweeter.

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