This afternoon, I sit here typing to you after a long thanksgiving holiday spent back at ‘the farm’ in Indiana. For a second, just a second, the syncopation of my keyboard mimics the piano I hear behind Kelly Clarkson as she blows the Stronger album into my headphones. Cool. I love it when that happens.
It’s good to be home.
The promise of lots of noise during our Thanksgiving visit to Rick’s relatives was met. I was blown away to see how much effort goes into getting little kids packed and unpacked from their winter wear. As ever, I was confronted by all manners of good food – enough for twenty, but a seated crowd much smaller. This year, the table seemed more like the Island of Buffet in the rushing river of family comings and goings.
Truly much to be thankful for.
Kids of all kinds and really little sizes, all being bigger than they were just this summer.
In those moments, I marvel in the promise of youth and the moments spent gently correcting a four-year old, that no, he was not a bad boy like he had just said. It all started when I leaned up from my place on the couch sitting next to his mother (my dear niece) and gently touched his temples, “Ethan, you are not a bad boy in your mind”.
Then with the tip of my finger, I drew a Sharon Osborne version of a heart on his chest. “And you’re not a bad boy in your heart. Do you know where your heart is?”
He looked up, pointed to the right spot and said,“Right here with you”.
As he stood there looking back at us, we fell into each other.
The moment of being there to witness the magnificent power beaming up from his face still moves me with awe. For his part, I think Ethan was a little perplexed as to why the grown-ups were quietly hugging each other so hard?
It is also true he wasn’t at all concerned that no one was rushing to reassure him everything was alright. He knew that already. Why wouldn’t little kids be particularly sensitive to the vibe around them? It’s all about the things we’re capable of saying when we can be quiet in each others presence.
A little kid reminded of that. Reminds me of Avatar. “I see you.”
In those moments of silence, I had the sense enough to just let them be.
And my old Uncle Lee. My last remaining patriarch. He loves me. I love the old ….him.
His kids! Oi! The cousins Rick grew up with have lives filled with change infused with trust challenges. If those kinds of dynamics don’t qualify as noise, than what level is our baseline threshold set at? I felt disappointment in being in the presence of what their problems were doing that complicated them even being together in just one place for very long. I will just as forcefully present the proposition that if there’s any group of people who can be defined as resilient, it’s these people. My people. And I, them. So why are some of them just so patiently frustrating?
Against such sweeping backdrop of swirling humanity that is our tribe in flux, there sat Uncle Lee. In his chair. Doing the things Uncle Lee does at his table.
Beyond the luxury of doing our laundry at his house, our visit gave me a chance to putter around the place while Rick and his cousins got caught up as they went off gallivanting across the county. Uncle Lee and I would talk about something or other and then I’d go back to check on the drier or hang out in our bedroom folding the dryers output. Love the smell.
That done, I’d head back out to the table. It’s where he sits. I pulled out my chair and sat too.
Six or eight minutes later, he broke the peaceful silence, “I worry about my kids”.
A minute or two had passed when I heard myself say, “…me too. Love sucks”.
Washing machine buzzes a summons and I go.
Returning to the table, I say “Well, that’s the last load for the day just going into the drier”.
He says, “Good”. Another minute or two passes and he says, “I know you do”.
I didn’t say anything. Nothing needed to be said.
That’s a love I’m thankful for.
That’s a love powered by who you are instead of where you stand.
The irony of it all is once you do go with the ‘who you are’ brand of battery, the ‘where you stand’ part falls in place pretty easily. All of the sudden, you know.
I love that I know Uncle Lee knows me to the point where he doesn’t waste time fretting over what I’m going to say or do. He knows me. That’s powerful medicine. And all, administered inside the quiet time the two of us spent just sitting at his table while everyone else was out of the house. Just us.
I am blessed. If you’re one of the ones who get’s that, I’m thankful for that too.
If this all just seems too foreign to be real, that’s OK. We’ve been there. And now, we’re here. And we can each attest to the wisdom of choosing to let the weaving be what it needs to be; to let it move thread into something else capable of being or running as long as it needs to. That’s the beauty of weaving…letting it happen; waiting to see what it’s all going to look like while we work the doing of it.
And all of it has so much to do with what we can say when we’re quiet.
Have fun out on the trail you weave this week. Listen for the chances to say something important to someone that matters to you. Even if you don’t say a word.
Take it from this weeks social philosopher, it all starts getting better when you first be-weave.
SOURCES, PHOTO CREDITS and ATTRIBUTIONS:
Banner Coastal Redwood Forest by Eric E Photography is used with permission.
Weaving Rugs : http://trinknitty.blogspot.com/2013/05/shepherds-harvest-2013.html; Round-table-close-up (from a WordPress blog): http://danishdancedesign.wordpress.com/2011/04/02/dining-table/; I See You Jake and Neytiri: http://info.sdiworld.org/post/i-see-you; Elmer_fudd: http://harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki/File:Elmer_fudd.jpg; Tabriz carpet: http://www.persiancarpetwarehouse.com/images/P/main.jpg
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