“It was always said out of love”
I inadvertently invited myself to a closed invitation birthday party. It was not my fault, I was just shown the invite and my dad said it was happening. So I went. And there I was looking very much like the youngest person in the building, realizing that every beautiful place setting at the table had a name on it. I tried to come up with an escape plan, but they would not let me leave! As the above line might hint towards, this side of family tree loves to joke around and poke at each other. Love sometimes keeps you from getting to the door, even when you have an escape plan.
Thank goodness it was family. My uncle was celebrating his 90th birthday, and I was welcomed to the table.
It was filled with stories, encouraging reflections, and seeing brothers and sisters not acting their age because they successfully brought each other back in time. I was blessed to be the fly on the wall, or at the table in this case. Hearing why some things were the way they were, who was the favourite brother, and of course all the insights that come with age and experience.
It seemed to be my week for learning from an older generation. The day before the birthday party I was asked to officiate a funeral on short notice. The small family needed someone with my background to provide a meditation for a woman who passed in her 90’s. It was a chance to hear stories from a different family tree, and help another person grieve as they remembered. There is a simple pleasure that comes with walking with someone who is learning to accept the loss they have received. Afterwards I had the privilege of sitting with family and friends as they became reacquainted over lunch, many starting conversations that were long lost over time.
“We shared that shovel in your shed because that is all we could afford when we started”
My uncle recalls this vividly for me as he shares about starting to farm and provide custom services with my dad. The amazing part to me in these conversations is that every memory is as though it happened yesterday. It is because they are important moments of personal shaping and story turns that impacted them greatly throughout their lives. The beginning was meager, but the value going forward in business, family, and faith, was priceless.
I enjoy working with young people, and adults finding their way, and even middle aged people like myself as they seek out the next big turn in life. But the stories and encouragement that come from an afternoon with the so-called ‘sleeper generation’, are hard to come by, and rarely shared. Entrepreneurialism when there were no safety nets…taking risks that could have ended your life…and enjoying a laugh rooted in love…all things that emboldened them to be faithful and move forward at the same time. These are things to hang your hat on.
As always, I am glad I went to the party.