Weddings! Birthdays! Engagements! Baby Showers! Vacations! Reunions! Babies! Family! And also...Funerals. Addictions. Cancer. Dementia. Imprisonment. Mental Illness...Family.
I've been back in the States for about 6 weeks or so now and wow, have they been FULL. And in the midst of all of the JOY I have been fortunate enough to experience during this time, there have also been some incredibly challenging circumstances within my family to navigate through.
I don't know if you can relate to me or not, though I suspect most of you can. Amidst some of the greatest gifts in life are simultaneously some of the greatest heartbreaks. All of them play a role and have significance, but not all are fun to endure or are desired. Through each new "event," I grow in gratitude to be allowed to experience these moments with others. Both to celebrate and grieve with people I love dearly! Life really is short and I want to cherish the people in mine for however long I get to know them!
It doesn't feel appropriate to share anything about the harder situations since they are not my stories to tell, but I would love to take a moment to say how proud I am of my brother, Derick, who married his beautiful bride just a few weeks ago! As siblings, we have seen the best and the worst in each other and I continue to be amazed at the man he continues to be. Always growing, becoming better. As a bridesmaid, I had the benefit of watching my little brother's face as he made a commitment to his best friend. (Not gonna lie, I totally cried! Haha. Funny how stuff like that just sneaks up on you, isn't it?!) Anyway, I have been able to observe him caring in the small things. Pouring himself out after a long day's work because someone in the family needed help. Never complaining or gossiping. Always seeking to love people well. And caring for his wife and son with such joy! Derick, I'm SO proud of you and honored to call you my brother! Keep it up!
In contrast...and some of you may already be aware of this...but for those who haven't seen the news, the second wave of COVID has hit India and cases are rising faster than care can be provided. Skies are filled with smoke from burning bodies on pyres (as is their custom in death) affecting air quality and piling crisis on top of crisis. Prayers for the nation of India are certainly encouraged. I cannot imagine the amount of hurt and fear that their citizens are experiencing or are exposed to each day! And because this nation borders Nepal, it has affected them as well and Nepal has seen a massive increase in cases. As of today, the capital is on lockdown. And although currently, my flights and plans to return in a couple of weeks are still in place and the airports are still open, it could easily change at the last minute.
I often marvel at life. At how it can simultaneously bring so much pain AND so much joy! This time at home has been a great reminder of that. And as I hope to travel back to Nepal soon, it is a reminder that I want to carry with me. To maintain hope during difficult moments and to embrace the joyful ones with an abundance of gratitude. Seemingly complex, and yet, so simple! And family- whether biological, chosen, or otherwise- is exactly that. Complex and simple at the same time. I love the whole mess of it!
Life's complicated, y'all. It's beautiful, messy, heartbreaking, and most of all...it's short. (This side of eternity, anyway!) Life is short and eternity is real. And we get to decide what to do with that information. So soak up every moment, seek the Truth, do the right thing, do the hard thing, give thanks often, and share your journey with others. I know I'd love to listen.