A time to connect with kindness

The Pirtle-Martinez-Siek-Sobel-Stoll clan got together last night for the first of what may be many holiday gatherings over the next two weeks. As I was driving over to my father’s house I noticed feeling a mix of contradictory emotions. I felt happy, afraid, grateful, hesitant, thrilled, upbeat, reluctant and I don’t know what else. I was a hot helping of emotional stew.

Having mixed feelings prior to a family gathering is not new for me. Maybe you can relate. I love my family, but I always feel a little trepidatious; I don’t trust we will all mesh with each other joyously. So, I try to do my part. Normally it is my habit to remind myself before such events to “stay awake.” Unfortunately, this time I missed it. So shortly after I arrived, I fell into blissful unconsciousness. Smiling, hugging, and small talk issued forth, but I wasn’t deeply connecting.Worst_Christmas_Card_2012_2

When we got to the White Elephant gift exchange I played my role as the family comic. Humor is great, when it’s conscious. But it’s also so easy to cross a line, and for humor to bite a little. I may have crossed that line yesterday. The reason I think I did, is because I wondered about it on the drive home, and also as I fell asleep, and mostly because I feel compelled to write about it today.

In my heart, I always want to be kind. I’m working through feelings of guilt today because I wasn’t fully awake yesterday. Like me, you’re likely to spend lots of time with family in the next two weeks too. That time is precious, because it’s so rare. I’m going to redouble my efforts to try and stay awake for it. I know that wakefulness makes room for kindness, and kindness is the point of it all.

Wishing you a happy holiday and new year!


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