Friday, May 29, 2009

Real Happiness

"Happiness is only real when shared." This past Memorial Day weekend was a beautiful testament to that idea for the Juricic clan.
The quote comes from "Into the Wild" - a terrific and thought-provoking film about an optimistic adventurer/fool who inspires many on his trip through life and up to Alaska. We finally got around to watching our Netflix choice – over the course of two nights, of course.
Appropriately enough, the simple joy began on Friday night in my pastors' backyard. I can't say that I grew up spending much of my non-Sunday time participating in church activities. But there we were, most contentedly kicking off the summer with our Church family. Kids of all ages sharing a pot luck, playing nice together, and singing on blankets and chairs for hours. We only went home because tomorrow was to be another beautiful day.
Saturday's gardening plans were trumped by a lovely afternoon of sitting under the awning with family and friends that had dropped by, mostly unexpectedly. We were sharing the backyard space with our new arrivals – Baby Birchie and Olivia - who had just fought their way out of their robin eggs a foot or two off of our back deck. By the end of the weekend, they were joined by their little siblings, Josie and Adam Tweetie.
On Sunday we hit the road and went up to the Catskills for the resumption of a Juricic family tradition. Sixty or so of the extended family and friends meet up in the "bosak" (or woods) to eat and drink and play all day. It's a crowd that might only otherwise convene for a wedding. Especially after a seven year absence, the opportunity for unstructured fun and interaction in the wide open spaces was particularly special. Ana got over her fear of (some) creepy creatures by allowing caterpillars to crawl all over her arms. Meanwhile, Noah barely stopped running around the field playing ball or Frisbee or whatever with whoever would engage him - or no one. We all slept well.
Back home- marching, motorcycles, flags and fire trucks - the kids loved our little town parade on Monday. The kid's naptime allowed us to finally get around to the yard work. Ahh…accomplishment! Then, a drive-by greeting turned into dinner with our neighbors when they stopped in to see the robins named after their two girls.
Maybe it is all too mundane to mention. Still, I wish for you that your weekend was as rewarding. Every moment of it made exceptional by the others present, sharing in it.

Another recurring theme of the weekend was the relationship between forgiveness, love and happiness. "When you forgive you love. And when you love, God's light shines on you." Into the Wild's protagonist, Alexander Supertramp, learned the lesson of the opening quote only belatedly. He never got around to the second. Thankfully, family (and other) reconciliations are still possible for each of us. This weekend, I saw - in my own family – the love possible when it does happen and the instances of where it still can. It's up to us to open those doors and let God's light in.

And my little lemonade journey passed another milestone with the completion of my radiation treatment this week. It only took 29 trips! I now have a couple of weeks off to regain my strength and then it's on to the home stretch. All I have left is one more month of chemo. I ought to be working my way back to my pre-cancer self in my post-cancer world by mid-July. Thanks for sharing in my trip.
May God bless you with the happiness of others to share your lives with.

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