Monday, June 11, 2007

the ties that bind

The week began with a funeral. This morning we attended a mass for a neighbor we didn't know well. He was a gaunt, tough old guy who looked as if life had not given him an easy run at it. A father of eight, several of whom have had troubles with the law, drugs, and bad choices all around. Troubled or not, they were all there today at St. Rose of Lima, a tight knit family bonded together by love, or circumstance, or faith...I'm guessing a combination of all those things. Isn't that really the embodiment of family? I'm not sure that we get a choice what family we're born into, but we're deeply connected at a level we don't always want to acknowledge. Death has a way of pointing directly at that most visceral connection. A finality. An understanding that we can't go back to the way things were. That life is forever changed in ways we don't always expect.

Walking home, I listened to the birds singing and looked at the flowers, surrounded by the green and brown softness of the earth and the velvety blue of the sky, wanting to smell and see and hear and feel and appreciate this place and these neighbors and this time. We're all family, and in the end, how we care for each other is the only legacy that counts.