My daughter Mia took this picture of the sunset as we headed north to Wisconsin for our annual visit to see family and friends. There always seems to be a good excuse to go "home" in June, this year it was to help my dad celebrate his 75th birthday at a Milwaukee Brewers baseball game.
Hands down the best part of our trip for me is getting my "people fix". Sure the food from our favorite restaurants is awesome, the weather is a refreshing change of pace from the Texas heat, but by far my favorite aspect of our week back "in the old country" is being given the chance to reconnect with people that I love. A week with close family and friends is an indescribable blessing.
What a gift to be able to listen and share life's experiences with one another in the hope that by doing so we'll all grow a little closer and be able to weather life's punches just a bit better.
I have many friends whose kids are now in their teens, some in their early twenties. My peers are facing a few situations I have yet to encounter with my five kids, but I find it fascinating to hear about their family dynamics and witness the depth of love for their children and the frustration for their challenges. Where we once thought it was life changing to get our kids to leave their pacifiers behind and sleep through the night, now we work to embrace the struggle with drug use, teen sex, and how to make sure our kids are best prepared for life outside of our front door. On top of these issues, many of my friends are dealing with parents who are in decline as well.
I will admit I'm struggling a little bit today with the knowledge that after living in Texas for eight years I still haven't found the openness I find in the people at home in Wisconsin. There are times when I feel I am surrounded by surface relationships, families who spend their days projecting an image that is misaligned with what life is really like behind their front door. Folks who care more about what's on the outside than the quality of what's on the inside.
There are some here who share my "realness" and desire to connect, but not many. And for those whom I describe, whose paths have crossed mine here in Texas, I am incredibly grateful to be a part of your journey.
I haven't attached a song to my post in a while, but this one really hits home today when I think about the last week of my life.
To my family and friends in Wisconsin...those I walked with, laughed with, drank with and cried with...don't ever stop being the sharers of stories, the seekers of truth, and don't ever give up on the relationships we so desperately need in our lives. There may be lots of days of cold temps in the north, but you sure make up for it with warm hearts!
The road between the north and south goes both ways...here's hoping some of you will be just crazy enough to jump in the car and head fifteen hours south to sit a spell with us in the future.