We are not usually one big happy family. In fact, we are your typical modern family with a diverse collection of misunderstandings, miscommunications, and missed connections. With a variety of personalities and temperments, we have our illnesses and diseases, our anxities and insecurities. There have been months in the past when we don't talk to each other and moments when I can honestly say we have not liked each other, but today for a brief hour and a half, we had togetherness.
We raked and packed weeds, we bundled branches from an old pear tree, we cleared spaces in my mother's overgrown garden--we actually worked together to get something productive done. I can't even remember a time when we worked together like this.
Tending towards the busy in life and towards the path of individualism, we often live in our own little worlds. But not today. Each person in my family played a role. From the six year old who was busy drawing a map of where everyone was working to the person who provided the refreshments to the gatherer, to the organizer, to the one with the physical strength, to the one who walked the overtired baby, and yes, even the complaining teenagers indirectly helped us stay positive and present in the mess.
Today togetherness gave way to support and that gave way to graciousness. Clearing my mother's weeds was an opportunity for us to see each other for who we really are--our wounds and our talents--and we were happy, together. Bundling up an old tree's branches gave us a chance to begin to rewrite old narratives that no longer matter.
We were busy. We were busy clearing a mess. And we were busy tending my mother's sacred space. We were finally, finally working together and I was so glad to be right there in the middle of it all.