Wednesday, July 1, 2009

A conversation about families

The Plaza Chronicles

As I sat in the Plaza at lunch time, enjoying the beautiful weather, watching people come and go, shop, greet others or just sit and eat lunch, I was joined by a male bus driver. I sat there to enjoy the weather - some fresh air outside of our glass dome I call work place - by myself. The Plaza is also a hub for several bus lines. The bus operators hang out on the benches in the plaza for lunch or just to stretch during their break between runs. I wanted to just tune out for a minute.

After about 10 minutes in this spot, my second spot for the period, the driver came over with his food and said, “I am going to share your table." Sure, I exclaimed. He opened up his container, poured his soda in a cup over ice, glanced at his watch and proceeded to pray over his food. At the end of his prayer he turned to me and said "I was raised this way.” I said, “Very good, it is very nice that you not only remember that but you practice it.” With that said, we got into a conversation about families, the activities, raising kids, expectation and the breakdown of the family as a unit today.

We went back and forth exchanging ideas and thoughts as to why this is so, while he ate and watched his watch to monitor his time. We even discussed the weather and the rainy states and family times like the summer picnics. So what’s wrong with the family as a unit? Why are families not together, they don't do things together and relationships so strained? We both recalled the fun and the frequency of our family get-togethers and visits on weekends, not for a special occasion, but because we are family. We enjoyed seeing each other, exchanged ideas, made plans and just relax and enjoy each others company. Sometimes a scolding or a “straightening” out or two occurred, lovingly.

We didn’t come up with any answers this day as to why the breakdown but we certainly threw around some ideas or reasons we thought were some causes, some we’ve used and accepted as excuses.

As he left, I though more about the discussion and realized what a blessing it is to get together with friends and families. It really is so special to be able to spend time with family and friends. I remember how powerful it was when we had 3 sometimes 4 generations of my family in one room/house and the fun we had, even if you were the one on the hot seat. No matter what was going on or who had issues, we would walk away feeling good, some getting some things they needed or a new view on things and life. Some of us were just happy to be able to relax and watch the kids interact with the relatives, learning their history and learning life lessons. I miss those days.

My family is now all over the place and the elders are leaving us one by one. We just fall into the easy route of the occasional phone call or occasional and sometime accidental visit and the special celebrations and traditional events.

When my kids were younger it was always a joy and pleasure to go to grandma’s house for the weekend. Everyone converged on grandmas’ house on the weekends, even long time friends come by to hang out. We even did a lot of things together like going to the park, vacations, shopping together or for each other and freely and willingly shared so everyone was involved. It was great and we admired and enjoyed the majesty of the earth and our world. It was a blessing!

We need to find the blessings in sharing, encouraging, spending time with each other, together, in person again. Rekindling the sense of belonging, the family unit that supports, encourages, love and forgives. I implore all of us to return to family and start living again. Invite or contribute to others, the single, the loveless, the lonely, and the old and be a part of the rebuilding of our community for posterity.
Find the blessings in sharing
Find the blessing in giving
Find the blessing in loving one another
Find the blessing in lending a helping hand
And your life will be enriched
Your life will be a blessing
You will be blessed!

Coming together, caring for each other, about each other is an action that keeps on giving. That is a blessing!

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