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downloadthe forecast said ‘heavy rain’ so we all gathered in the living room. now, remember, this is an old house – so there is no central air conditioning and this is a summer evening with rain expected. people who are really zealous about the dew point could explain why it felt so ridiculously hot and humid, but we didn’t worry about the details of it. we just all sweated together, our ukuleles in hand, the dogdog running from one person to another getting ample dogdog attention in his nervousness about the thunder. this community of people meets weekly. during the ‘school year’ we meet at the church; during the summer we meet on our patio (ok, for you detail-oriented folks, sometimes it is inside our house, weather-dependent.) playing the ukulele in this band unites us…we strum through songs, singing and laughing, rehearsing for performances. today daena has a huge blister on her thumb. (the hazards of ukulele!) but that isn’t all. we catch up on news with each other. there are conversations about chords, strum patterns, aging parents, children living away, recipes, probiotics, new medical procedures, new pets, houses, chip and jojo and hgtv, life below zero and alaska, vacations, romances, reminiscenses, grandchildren. this community is part of who we are. i look at them in wonder. they are all so important to us. the gift of community.

we sat outside to eat at the pizza place. under the shade of a big umbrella we talked about weddings and health, diets and children, camping and career questions. these two people have been a rock for us in the last years. before it was ‘the four of us’, they used to include me on their ‘date nights’, sitting me in the middle of the movie with them, pouring a glass of wine for me, including me in dinner, helping me surf through the challenges i was facing. their community is part of who we are. i look at them in wonder. they are so important to us. the gift of community.

20 comes to our house most every sunday. we make dinner, drink wine, talk our hearts out and maybe watch a movie or sit out back. we share stories of life, stories of worry, stories with tears, stories of great joy, hilarious stories. we share so many years of memories and times gone by, some very happy, some we speak of with much sadness in our voices. the years have flown by. and now we plan – so many adventures to come. he and 14 are ridiculous middle-schoolers together. they make me laugh. i look at him in wonder. he is so important to us. the gift of community.

the girl wrote about her group of snowboard coaches and instructors one day. she referred to them as ‘family’. she has a fantastic group of people upon whom she can rely who live right there near her. they support her, challenge her, inspire her. i am grateful for her gift of community.

the boy writes about his group of friends – a tight-knit, widespread group of people upon whom he can rely, some of whom live in the city near him, some of whom live in other cities he travels to. they are ‘family’ to each other. i am quite sure that they support him, challenge him, inspire him. i am grateful for his gift of community.

our community is all around us. our community is far away. we have family and friends we’d love to see more, be with more, who live away from us. we have ‘family’ right here. they support us, challenge us, inspire us. i am grateful for our gift of community. i am grateful for you.

you know you are all family – bloodlines or not – when you can sweat all over ukuleles together, create joy and recognize you need each other. a band isn’t a band without all of us.download-1

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