The rhythms are the same but things do change, even if subtlety. We gathered the way we always do Easter weekend with the festivities, the coloring of eggs and the hunt. The older kids are in their 20’s and the eggs now contain cash, but the hunt goes on. We sit at the table and we discuss the N.B.A. playoffs and we tell jokes that shouldn’t be told. We laugh, not necessarily at the jokes, but we laugh in the enjoyment of family and the deep knowing.
The subtlety beyond the 20-year-old egg hunters is the search for identity. My nephew muses, “I’m the black sheep.” We chuckle assuring him that of course he is not the black sheep. Yet he watches and ponders, “Why am I different? I’m not like this one or that one and those two seem to be so much alike.” The reality of course is we are family; each utterly unique and bound by a connection much deeper than our DNA or customs and values. In fact, in spite of the similarities or variances, we simply and utterly choose. My nephew, in his 20’s quest, like all who pass through that valley, will one day see that no he is not the black sheep; but that his differences do not exclude him but they make him all the more loved.
We sit at the table laughing and celebrating. The emerging are at one end, becoming. The established are passing on what they have inherited, grasping at the reigns of responsibility. And the departing sit in wonder watching, not knowing how many more of these celebrations await them; but confident and assured, resting in the beauty of family.
The rhythms of this life I have not always enjoyed, nor welcomed warmly, but with each passing season I watch and learn as the rituals teach me new lessons and grant me the grace to pass on the ones I’ve learned.