Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Thanksgiving: A Way of Life

Recently while visiting family in bucolic upper state New York I was reminded of the importance of family.

There were times in my life when I turned my back on my family. I instead worked hard to adopt others, any others, as my family. My distortions regarding my relatives were based strongly in my ill-perceived understandings of my heritage. I knew only what I was able to remember, and in large part these reflections were warped.  My self-centeredness allowed my ego to distort everything that did not meet the minimum requirements of being sufficiently sorrowful or harmful to be cast out of the memory cache.  I had little to replay except misperceived scenes and unrelenting feelings of being wholly unloved.

And then something magical occurred:  I grew up.

The tyranny of my heritage and overestimated childhood sorrows were slowly replaced by new opportunities — to love, and to reacquaint myself with family.

It was only after I gave birth to my own daughter that I could truly appreciate my mother for all she endured, and my father for his steadfast presence.  In spite of all that I deemed unworthy, there was a shining essence that would not dim. I tried to ignore and tarnish their golden presence, but it was unrelenting.

I recognized the magnificent rich cultural heritage of my family through the eyes of my growing baby girl.  After all the years I had spent bemoaning my childhood, I lost precious moments with my parents and siblings. The genuine gift of maturity and healing is the urge to connect with people and places that came before in our lives. I am filled with gratitude that I did not lose any of these opportunities permanently. Nothing was done that could not be undone by restoring my relationships, if they were willing.

I spent significant effort rebuilding those important  bonds. It paid off. Today I have real connections with people I love, those related by blood, and those not.

We all are blessed with family. To the extent we allow people in to our lives, is proportional to the love we experience.  It is available us anytime we wish.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Turtle Trio, #6597-7D

© 2012 James W. Murray, all rights reserved.

(click image for larger version)

Details:  March 24, 2012; Canon 7D;  f/11 @ 1/500 sec; — 2/3 EV; ISO 500;
Canon EF 70-300mm  f/4-5.6 L USM  @155mm

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