|Time with son Geof and Daughter-in-Love Cricket|
Mileage is only one way to measure the trip, however. Another way might be to list all the things we saw and did while we were gone or how many photographs we took, but this was not a trip about sightseeing or adventure or checking off items on a bucket list. This was a trip to see people we love, to be in their presence and to get a taste for the life they are each living.
I admit I am a bit of a reluctant traveler, and it is hard for me to tear myself away from home. I had a good writing rhythm this summer, and while a few days away to refresh and restore, to reboot, seemed like a good idea, I was hesitant to interrupt the flow for very long. I love my days in the garret. I love my loop of life. I love the mix in my life of people and activity, alongside the solitude of writing, reading, and praying time.
Some people eagerly plan their next trip. We have many in our life who are passionate travelers, and when they are on one exciting trip, they plot the next one. Their calendars fill with travel plans, and they move through the seasons as they move through different countries. When talking with these inveterate travelers I wonder sometimes if I am closed to new opportunities or possibilities or if I am merely dull. Sure, there are places I would like to visit or revisit, like Paris or the English countryside, but for the most part I am content.
Where I am passionate, however, is remaining connected with the people in my life. And that was the reason for this trip.
We spent an evening with friends who have recently been touched by a major health challenge and are confronting how this changes their life. We spent time with our son and daughter-in-love who love their life in Cleveland, but are at a stage when they wonder if it is time to explore other work possibilities. We spent time with friends in the Boston area who have moved there from Cleveland to live near a daughter and her family. He was in the early stage of recovery from major shoulder surgery. She had similar surgery only months before. After too long a time to sell their home, they are now beautifully settled in a condo and while there are challenges where they live, they are happy with their decision.
We spent time with friends who have relocated from Wisconsin to the Chesapeake Bay area in Maryland, also to be near a daughter. He is able to continue working for his same firm, which has an office in Washington DC, but now that the house is happily and radiantly settled and they have slipped right into life in a charming and active small town, she is wondering about her next step.
As I look back on these separate encounters over good food and wine, I realize how these relationships are part of the sacred text in my life, and how important it is to continue adding chapters and verses to the text.
In Madison we had a chance to see for ourselves how our friends are doing, given the health scare they have experienced. In Cleveland we were part of a backyard party on our children's block and met people who are important to them, including their adorable goddaughter. In Massachusetts our friends' daughter and her husband invited us for dinner, and we gathered around the table with them and four of their five children. We delighted in the banter, the activity of this busy household, and have a better sense of why our friends made the move from the known to the unknown. Thanks to the House Party atmosphere our gracious hosts in Maryland created, we now have four new friends who were also there visiting. We learned about generosity and hospitality and the gift of enlarging one's circle.
How wonderful it would be if all the people I love lived right here. If that were the case I wouldn't have to face one of my least favorite tasks--packing. Each gathering over the course of the two weeks, however, was a time to strengthen the bonds of friendship and love. And to give thanks for their presence in our lives. Because we have had this face-to-face time, we have a better awareness of their lives, what is important to them, the joys and the gifts, along with their current challenges and questions. We broke bread with each of these dear ones, and their names are forever written in the sacred book of our lives.
An InvitationWhat is currently being written on the sacred text of your life? I would love to know.