Wednesday our Intercommunity Novitiate was on "Family of Origin." After first mentally walking our parents to their cars we attempted to take an honest look at our family systems and the roles we each played in our families. It was interesting for me to then compare that system with community systems and other systems in which I function. Mike Pollard, our presenter, walked us through our family trees with all of the obvious and not so obvious dysfunctions that every family has. We looked at four typical survival modes/ways of being when we are under stress. I think my family would agree with my self-evaluation and stick me as "The Hero," the over-achieving, responsible one who would be one of the first ones up to grab a towel when someone spills milk at dinner. While this seems all fine and good, there is also a shadow side to that role, as there is with all of them. All in all, a day of good awareness for myself.
Pat and I left Thursday after class for Jackson, Mississippi for our fall Sectional meeting. There are Sectionals that meet in St. Louis, but traveling south offered a wonderful opportunity to meet with the sisters there, to hear the stories of their various ministries,
least locally famous for. We were treated to lunch in Yazoo City with another lovely group of friends. I have to be careful when we travel not to eat too much. Goodness! Then on to Jackson where we stayed with S. Donna Gunn. What hospitality! The Sectional meeting was very stimulating, and, as always, left me with many things to ponder. Our last night in Jackson we picked up Chinese food for dinner. One of the things Pat loves to do is to act out the fortunes while everyone else guesses. Mine was, "The path will be arduous but abundantly rewarding." Now really, how in the world they ever guessed arduous or abundantly from my charades is beyond me!
The hours in the car provided time for Pat and I to share (and laugh and sleep) in always new ways. I would summarize the themes of our conversation as two-fold... First a focusing on curiosity in relationships. Asking questions and wanting to know more as opposed to judging. And, second, a rejection of the notion that we want to get "better." If I want to be "better" that must mean that there is something wrong with where I am or who I am now, and I don't think that is the case. I am enough now, and I hope to become more of who I am.
So, like I said, a lot going on at least internally. How grateful I am.
(An author's note...I did think twice before putting the charades pictures up since there is not a goofy one of myself. But, if I had one of myself, I'd have put it up too, so I figured Pat and Donna wouldn't mind. They are beautiful in any pose.)