This past weekend, I had the pleasure of attending my wife's family reunion and meet more members of my extended family. Four generations were represented, two of which were also represented by our attendance. Hearing the stories and seeing the relationships around me took me back to a time in my own youth. A large portion of the family in attendance were from the area, but there was also those of us who traveled in. The location was in a small, midwestern USA town with country values and small town appeal. In my childhood, visiting my grandfather's land was a point of happy memories, so this put me at ease immediately.
There are times in all of our lives where we feel out of our element and uneasy. We are constrained in how we feel and what we feel we are able to do in these situations. On this day, in this place, this is absolutely not how I felt. There was no uneasiness. There was the comfort of conversation. There was the ease of acceptance. There were no excuses to not be myself and let them accept me that way and to for me to accept them in the same manner and fashion.
Even though I knew very few of these people, I felt as if I had been part of this group forever. In the years to come when we attend, I will learn more about these individuals, their lives, hear their stories, and get a greater sense of closeness with my wife and where she came from. We have had such an amazing relationship already, this is only going to bring me even closer to her and allow us to carry forward the traditions with the next generation. What a great weekend!
When you enter a new group and instantly feel free to totally be yourself and are accepted as such, that is where you belong...this is where I belong! I can't wait until next year to learn more and begin to share me with them as well. Let's see what this next year holds!