Last week John and I sat together at the Methodist church in town for the second Saturday in a row. We were there to participate in celebrations occurring in the lives of our children’s friends. The first Saturday was filled with smiles for the wedding of one of Katie’s closest of friends, and the second Saturday was filled with tears for the funeral of the father of Simon’s closest friend. We could not help but think of how different these two services were. We could not help but think of our own mortality. We were drawn into our past lives because we knew these very special people best during when they were playing with our children in backyards, on soccer fields, at birthday parties, in plays and musicals, at school functions, in boy and girls scouts, and during car trips. Now we were witnessing them as adults doing adult things. We sat beside our grown children and sharing their lives with their friends at some of the most important days in a lifespan. It is weird, and so different for me to be thinking of our lives from this new perspective. We are middle aged parents who are now less the participants than the observers and memory keepers. Of late I have been lamenting how I feel so much an outsider in my children’s lives. I am not sure where I fit in anymore. Yet, here I was, so honored to be a part of the milestones of their lives and their friends’ lives.

In this moment in time I recognize that have to pay attention here. So I sat in the pews both Saturdays and listened hard to the words of the pastor who officiated both services. He was so eloquent and used words that were so very apropos. He captured the essence of the people in front of him. His words built us all up in community. His message reminded us that we have a choice with whom we spend our lives. Making that choice alters the path we take but not who we are. It is vital that we maintain our very unique self and bring that to our relationships. Our mates, our children, our families, our world, need us to be who we are. I know this to be true, but sitting at these important gatherings was like sitting in the theatre watching it all play out in front of me.

One other thing struck me at this time. During these two important events, I was again part of a community. Community surrounds us with energy, encouragement, strength, and compassion. I have withdrawn so much from my community in the past few years. I have my family of course, and I have my school community. But, I have so little time that I have neglected friends and neighbors. So I am so grateful that my children’s friends invited me to be a part of their most precious of moments. I felt part of the community, witnessed its power, and I hope that I don’t let this lesson slip away.

“Most of us lead far more meaningful lives than we know. Often finding meaning is not about doing things differently; it is about seeing familiar things in new ways.” Rachel Naomi Remen in “My Grandfather’s Blessings”

Sisters, thank you for being my community. Our connection to one another is so powerful.



2 Responses to “Juxtapositions”

  1. Carolyn Says:

    yes.. sad as the second service was, you are a part of the community there and some many communities interwoven into the one you and John created.. It always makes me think of the wedding quilt pattern.

  2. Sandi Says:

    Wow! Judy this is so beautiful. You are truly a gifted writer – and – a gifted observer. When you spoke of these two events on the Sister Summit call last week, it had meaning then. Yet here, in the written word, it unfolds in a richer way. A way that allows us to reflect on the concepts you write about here, like past days (and years), witnessing our adult children, being a middle aged parent and observing our children’s lives as they themselves participate in these significant life events.

    I agree with you (and myself confirm) that being part of a community is the container that allows us to contribute, gain strength, share our joys and sorrows and safely make the transitions as we walk through each stage of our lives.

    And, how wonderful that we have Sister Summit at this point in our lives, so that we can create and nourish our own sub-community. From here, I believe, we will do the great work we’ve been called upon. That is, to teach and share the love and community we benefit from. xo — 3 sister, sam

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