I was at an annual party called Brewfest this afternoon. My friends from twenty plus years ago host the party every year. He brews his own beer and wine and usually has a handful of homebrews on hand for people to try as they feel inclined. They always have a huge spread of food and as part of the celebration they always have a pinata for the kids.
At this party I always sit and talk with co-workers I haven't worked with in twenty years. We catch up on our family lives, laugh at how old we are all getting and talk about the old times with the old gang.
It was just another party today, but it reminded me of how rich my life is. These are people who genuinely care about my well being, and I theirs. They are the ones you "lose touch with" for 11 months out of the year, but then you pick up the conversation right where you left off last year. There is a comfort level and, it might be a stretch, but a level of love as well - maybe one you never mention or talk about, but it's there.
My wife always warns me about my inner extrovert Duane coming out at these functions. This title dates back to when we were on a horseback ride on vacation in Colorado. On the ride, for some reason, I talked at great length to the tour leader, named Duane, who had a fascinating life story, and Donna wondered, what the heck? Jim never talks this much. At the time it was the beginning of my writing focus and I found people's stories to be way more interesting than my own. Ever since, I have these extended "extrovert flares" in social settings where I find people fascinating. (Is this normal?) Anyhow, while at the time I can't get enough of the dialog, when it's over it usually results in introvert overload where I need to withdraw into seclusion for three days - but I digress.
I have the same kinds of interactions with my writing group, my colleagues in GIS, my Collective MKE church body and my family. I always come away from them appreciative of the people, the battles their raging through and the stories I've heard. I carry their grief, I linger in their joy, and I share in their loss. Each of them are fighting their own battles and are carrying on through it all - powering through life.
Anyways, I'm rambling here. My point was that while we get all caught up in the important and sometimes unbelievable things in life like the sorry state of politics, Olympic heroes and imbeciles and the issues facing our police force and black community, we need to remember what we have. People aren't perfect, but most are doing what they think is right. Sometimes their views and beliefs are radically different than ours, but that's what makes the world so interesting. They think and feel as strongly about their opinions as I do about mine. Let it go. Love them, give them a hug and tell them to press on.
Because I'm telling you, they might not be around at the party next year.