Family Here and Now, or There and Gone

This Thanksgiving holiday has me thinking about family, those still here and those who have gone from our presence.

Like most people, my family has a lot of people that have passed away and are no longer with us. Then there are those that are still living but we’ve lost touch with; those who have moved away, or have become busy with their own families. Then there are the rest of us motley fools that live our lives in varying degrees of interaction. Fortunately, I am still close to both my mother’s and father’s immediate families. Extended family, not so much.

Although, even closeness on a relational level does not forgo the possibility of unforeseen hindrances when we do get together. For instance, this year at our family Thanksgiving dinner there were some definite disadvantages at play. Due to health issues/conditions, one was extremely late, and three others couldn’t eat and enjoy the meal fully, if at all. (One was only able to eat a small bit of soup.) And one entire family missed the entire shindig due to sick kids. (Thank you for not infecting us all. That’s “happy holidays” in action right there! Lol).

Unfortunately, there were others that couldn’t make it due to a variety of other reasons, including in-laws and outlaws. Well, we do realize the “other side” of the family is just as important. And, ya know, sometimes you’re just gonna have to choose a side. Make the best of the situation. And still enjoy your family whether they’re near or far. So, that’s what we did; enjoy the time with the ones we could.

I know most families aren’t as close as mine. Some are torn apart by family feuds. Yet, relational distances may evolve from many causes. For instance, families move away or simply get busy with jobs, education, or any number of other reasons. Over the years that distance may lessen the strength of once strong family bonds. I currently have a family member that has an international job that dictates they live abroad for several months a year. Unfortunately, they had to head abroad recently. And, yes, we missed them dearly at Thanksgiving this year.

Like everyone else, of course, we have many family that have passed away and left an empty void in this life we now live. My dad, brother, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and so many more. Unfortunately, each year brings the risk that life changes, or even deaths, will occur and others will not be able join us to celebrate the holidays.

Ultimately, it’s up to us, the individual, how we choose to deal with those with us and those that are no longer around. We can cling to bitterness about lost relationships or the death of dear ones, even years after the fact. Or, we can face it, deal with it, and let go of the harsh emotions and grant ourselves permission to enjoy the present and the people at gatherings we attend.

Thinking on this topic brings to mind my favorite quote. It’s from Helen Keller. “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. To keep our faces toward change and behave like free spirits in the presence of fate is strength undefeatable.”

So, with all the changes this crazy life brings us here and there, may you now find the capacity to face life as a “daring adventure” and endure all things with a joy and strength that is “undefeatable” before this life is gone.


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