Monday, December 14, 2009

Joy & Sorrow

Thanksgiving came a little late this year, the product of scattered adult children. It may have been a Friday but a perfect Turkey, multitudinous sides and a coalition of the willing; what else does one need. It is the coalition which was particularly striking: Carrie and most of our children including Anna and her new addition (in what is now also their home), another daughter's in-laws and in what may be the strangest twist Carrie's ex, the biological to the step-daughters I raised. He comes with the new wife, a kid, a partridge... Alright, no partridge.

Carrie's house is getting used to it now that Anna is part of the mix, Anna and child. Her father, the ex, has become a regular and it almost seems normal. Stranger are the visits from the pedophile's parents. It is their grandchild also, distressing as it all may be.

Dinner goes well - whatever discomfort some may have brought to the table, forgotten in the passing of dishes. Carrie did the toast - it is her home- and did it well. But I had my own, for me and now for this page.

I still remember the lyrics of the first song I memorized - not because I was trying but based on the both incessant listening and the depth of the resonance in a fourteen year old’s brain:
"It’s no matter if you’re born to play the King or pawn
For the line is thinly drawn 'tween joy and sorrow"
(Paul Simon)

It feels like we - our family - have spent the past number of years testing that line, frequently surging into it. And every time we border on breaking through and testing sorrow verging on despair, we seem to bounce back. The Jewish liturgy has a refrain that God offers us life or death and daily reminds: "Choose life". It is really all any of us can do. And with all of the problems, all of the issues and setbacks, we still manage to embrace life, particularly our newest testament to the magic of creation.

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