Dropping Into People’s Lives…
Dropping into people’s lives … especially when I’ve flown in there, shifts my reality. Everything from home seems dim. Instead I’m knee deep in the intricacies of the lives of those I’m visiting. When I stay at more than one place within the same trip, it is very disorienting.
At my sister’s in Colorado, I am involved in moving plants from impending storms, talking to her outside in the cold while she smokes, the drip of the faucet in her bathtub, her recent cancer diagnosis. I’m just there in the nitty-gritty of her life.
Since this current trip involved three sisters coming to see her, there is also the involvement of the other siblings as they also bring their lives to bear on our current surroundings. There’s reveries from our childhood intertwined with our present distant world since we each live in different states. All in all, it’s pretty dizzying. Just about the time my mind begins to pidgeon-hole, categorize, find balance in that moment’s space, it is time for the conversation to move on.
After this visit, two of us set off on a 12-hour road trip back to southern New Mexico. With my youngest sister at the wheel, we alternated driving across the state back to where we were raised, 20 miles from where she presently resides.
Driving is not like flying. There is engagement with everything we see. The beautiful landscape is ever awesome. The smattering of little towns beckon us to tiny gas stations, novelty shops and even a homemade fudge shop. Even though the town is no more than a pit stop, this store offers the most amazing variety and quality of fudges. Dreamscicle fudge?!
And, of course, as we travel, we talk. It’s funny how you can learn things about a person in a long confinement in a vehicle. We never ran out of things to talk about. If anything, we had to limit ourselves on topics, as politics and religion aren’t typically travel-friendly.
As we neared our destination, the shortage of sleep while on a four-sister visit begins to wear on us. We’re happy travelers when we finally pull into our little brother’s driveway.
Since my visits from California are rare, there are a few more relatives waiting to greet us. Shift. Shift. I am immersed in their worlds that involve grandkids, school teaching, chewing tobacco, newlyweds. Since this is just a leg of my journey, I spend the night prior to meeting up with another sister and an aunt for lunch the next day.
In an unusual and special time of there being just two sibs, I enjoy my time of catching up with my brother’s life. There’s talk of eyesight changes and blood sugar, Vegas vacations and reminisces of his having served in Viet Nam. I never knew my brother had met Bob Hope there.
It was a chance meeting. Bob Hope was there to encourage the troops, of which my brother was one. Bob and my brother were pulling on opposite sides of a door, each trying to pass through. My brother was so taken off guard that he didn’t even acknowledge the great star as they each went their own way.
After a too-short visit with my “little” brother, he and I stopped by his younger daughter’s house to spend an hour prior to meeting everyone for lunch. Mother of three very cute, very bright boys—that she home schools—she still has time to be a professional photographer and is starting her own magazine for mothers. Would have loved to have spent much more time as our interests are so similar.
Lunch brought our aunt—who is our age—from 70 miles away, and also my fourth sister and husband from deep in the heart of Texas. My travel-buddy sister didn’t know we were also celebrating her birthday that was imminent. Fun!
A whole ‘nother set of grandkid conversations: divorces and settlements, busy lives and a poodle named Pepe’ that had belonged to our deceased mother and now was residing with our aunt, our mother’s younger sister.
Ah, the last leg of the trip. I drove with my Texas sister and husband back to their home for a couple of days’ visit before flying home. Our conversation centered around her chemo treatment, light chains and stem cell replacements. More kids and grandkids. Playing Cardinal Train dominos and hands of 5 Crown. Picking up lab results. Discussing what the future holds.
Ready to veg on the airplane. Still digesting the huge input from the trip. Conversations with a fellow passenger English teacher. Then I settle to my old friend, my yellow tablet.
Pillowy clouds, patchwork panorama, touching the tips of trees at least with our eyes. Breaking loose from all I have taken in.
Trying to adjust to being back in my world. Shabbat services. Sunday, Mother’s Day. Grandbaby’s upcoming heart surgery. Babysitting six grandkids six-years-old and younger. Repainting the “kids’” room, and always taking another stab at cleaning out the garage.
What a whirl. No wonder we have to compartmentalize. No wonder I detach myself from all the various parts of my life. I try to be all of where I am, but something is lost every time I do. All I know is I can’t be there all the time I am here. I’m fully in when I’m there, which makes it so hard to shift gears, but I don’t know how else to do it. Disorienting, dizzying, ever paradigm shifting.
And then I spend time with the Lord in His world. Bringing Him into every situation. Being a vehicle for His love to others, even to me. Examining my heart, my motives, my actions, seeking His face, being transformed.
Immersed in His love for me, for the lost, for both His Kingdom on earth now and the one to come. And I find balance for my universe. I find His perspective. I am not overwhelmed by all the worlds I encounter. I can fully believe for His healing, His provision, His deliverance, His encouragement, His power—giving and receiving.
Even as He balances my world, how much more does He want me to be His instrument in all that I encounter. He is the only steadying force bringing peace and righteousness to the injured, the diseased, the young hopefuls, the old ones holding on. He brings what we need and directs our paths, especially in our relationships with each other and His eternity planned for each of us.
As I try to put myself in His shoes, I realize that our Lord is intimately involved in each of our lives every moment. Where we each just drop into other’s lives, He dwells there. The cool thing is that he apparently never gets dizzy or disoriented, never compartmentalizes, never has to disconnect from one of us to attend to the other. He is fully engaged with each of us every moment of our lives. To Him, we are each individuals that form His tapestry of earthly existence.
If you liked this blog post … you’ll love “Phoenix!”
Beautiful stories. Beautiful art.