This week at the “Becoming Holy Whole” class I’m taking at Virginia Theological Seminary, the primary theme was finding and feeling at home through our various communities. It was an outstanding and very thought-provoking class. We all belong to so many communities: family, work, church, hobbies, social groups and many others….This week for me has been a true convergence of many of my communities.
One week ago, on Saturday morning I attended the funeral of a co-worker’s wife who was only 32 years old. She died in a horrific accident a mile from where I live. A tractor trailer had run a red light and hit a school bus which then went airborne and hit and demolished two cars. My coworker’s spouse was sitting at the light in one of those cars and was killed instantly. Everyone at work was talking about that accident which closed the major thoroughfare for hours. As we all talked, my coworker commented that he “prayed for the family of the victim” as he had passed the accident on the way to work and was late for work like many others, but at the time of his comment he had no idea his wife was involved. Though most of us had never met his wife, our work family was out in force to support our coworker and his two kids, ages 5 and 8. One of the things I learned about this amazing young woman was that she was the glue of her family and did everything in her power to ensure that she helped others in any and every way she could. Though it was one of the longest funerals I’d ever attended, I was honored to have been there and we all walked away asking ourselves how we could be more like this young woman by doing all we can for our communities to make them even better.
Monday was a family highlight for me as it was Grammy time with Kendal. We had dinner at the American Girl store and then got her doll’s ears pierced. We also journeyed to the LEGO and Disney stores and played in all three places as if there was no tomorrow!! It was simply a perfect evening! On Tuesday I attended a funeral for a member of my church family. My good friend Stewart lost his mom to Alzheimer’s. Over the last two years he and I had many conversations about his mom, and though I had never met her, I had to be there for him, as were many others in our church family. I learned so much about his mom, who was a true adventurer! Stewart shared quite a few stories during his reflections of his mom’s life and we all felt we had come to know her. I left that service feeling as if my path of experiencing as many adventures as possible is the right path to be on! I look forward to having many more adventures before my life ends. I used to dread funerals, but as of late I’m finding that even if I don’t know the person I can learn many lessons from how others lived their lives and it makes me a better person. Attending those two funerals this week definitely has made me a better person!
Yesterday it was time to have some fun with my RVing Women community for our first rally of the year. Every time I am with these amazing women I learn something new and meet incredible new friends I believe I was destined to meet. Just one of the new friends I met yesterday was a woman I’ll call Bee who had come as a guest with one of the members. I instantly noticed that she had a really cool walker, one of the ones that allows the person to sit and rest when needed. She is around my age and I quickly surmised that she has MS, so I felt an instant connection with her because that disease is what took my sister and only sibling from our family in 2011. I had dinner last night and breakfast this morning with Bee. We shared many stories and talked about the disease which robs people of so much of their lives. But just as my sister had done, she plans on living every day to the fullest and jumped at the chance to join her friend on this camping adventure. I feel as if I’ve known her forever and that for a short time I had a little bit of my sister back.
As many of you know, I feel so at home in the outdoors, and this weekend so far is no exception. But this week has also been about feeling at home with my actual family, my work, church and camping families, in spite of the fact that the funerals were very difficult. I believe that part of being “home” in your community involves being there through good times and bad and for both enjoyment and support. I hope each of you feel at home in your various communities. May we all do our part to make our communities the best they can be because that’s what being at home is all about!!