Easter is one of those yearly family holidays. In addition to Christmas and Thanksgiving, Easter traditionally means traveling to see family and enjoy some laughter, food, eggs and chocolate.
This year I find myself reflecting as I often do about family, community and what it means to me.
People who know me probably know I grew up in a small family, with all extended family and relatives overseas. To far for holiday visits and Sunday dinners. I imagined different realities – what I thought was the norm.. the grandparents close by, the Sunday meals, the big happy mess of everyone around. Since then of coarse I have discovered and understood the various realities of family and circles of support we all have and that nothing is perfect or simple.
I continued to live my live in somewhat of a small bubble.. and have struggled on and off with defining my family, how to bridge distance and isolation to create a community around me or that I feel a part of.
I have been blessed to meet incredible friends during my various adventures of work and school and I treasure the memories of times together very dear. But realities mean that years pass when I don’t see them and only catch glimpse of their lives on Facebook or in an occasional call, Skype video or email.
Recently with illness coming again and some hard months behind me, I find once again I ponder the age old dilemma of belonging.
A recent conversation reminded me of the work you have to do, to create and maintain you own community. As with any worth wile endeavor, relationships need care, effort and communication…
For me my supports and community goes beyond just blood relations. I feel lucky to have friends, co-workers, family who I enjoy spending time with, sharing a conversation or a meal.
But another element of the friends/family reality is not to expect too much. To support and enjoy and give your love but not wait for immediate returns or gratification. The love will return in its own time and surprise you with its brightness.
Focusing on your own happiness is the key, fining your own joys and projects to inspire and keep you busy. Maybe spring and Easter brings on all these wonderings.. with so many possibilities and new beginnings around me.
This week I tried something now. A few years ago a friend told me about “Meet Up’s” and how she used this internet site to connect with new friends when she moved to new communities for school or work. In her case she focused on knitting and hiking.. and often made new connections to broaden her community. I decided to give it ago and joined a language meet-up in my neighborhood where Spanish speakers get together for a coffee and conversation. Success!