The beat goes on

Today was cousins and one uncle and one aunt and various inlaws and wondering where the family nose came from — meaning, whose fault was it, anyway?

We talked about all those family reunions my mother and her siblings organized for us. Week-long vacations on islands, at national parks — wherever there was water. We talked about the greatest generation, and how we have just four of them left. We talked about forgiveness. And we talked about Uncle Chet, whose life we celebrated even while acknowledging those darkest points of his character.

Every person I have ever met has been composed of darkness and light. Humanity’s long arch toward freedom involves — necessarily, I think — embracing both.

I like an old friend’s attitude. Before he died 8 years ago, he told me he hoped that by the end of his life,  his hands and his heart would be fully open. He felt he had been meant to grow from what he thought was a very rigid, fear-based model to one of love and acceptance — often of uncertainty.

I like that image. A lot. Hands and heart open — divesting self of the bays and harbors we think offer us security in life.

Maybe that’s what my uncle was doing with his hands pecking nervously at each other during his last days. Maybe he was simply making his way.


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