It’s dark here on the back deck of my grandparents’ home in Clinton Township, Michigan. The hum of the air conditioner unit competes with the chirping of the crickets, as the light from my phone competes with the stars.
Man-made sound and light drowns out those of nature. The chatter in my head drowns out the still, small voice of the Spirit. I am pushed and frenzied and expanding to hold much, as I struggle to rest in the arms of the one who holds my expansive soul.
I turn the phone upside down on my lap to brighten the night sky. My eyes adjust to the shades of dark and the silhouettes of trees against the gray sky. Overcast clouds allow stars to shine behind, not through, them, as one or two dare to peek out before being hidden again quickly.
My last visit to this area was 26 years ago with my family and fiancé the summer before I was married. Michigan, the place of childhood vacations and Christmas breaks, was a chapter closed.
This week I returned with my mom and daughter and my brother and his daughter to visit my mom’s parents. Four generations gathered in a place I had never been. It is one that many of my older children have visited, taking trips with their grandparents.
It was my turn.
It is strange to inhabit a new space filled with childhood memories. Walking through the newer, modern home with its unfamiliar floor plan, I felt the walls and shelves both comforting and disrupting with their familiar decor. Much is from another era that I remember vividly, yet is also a blur.
This has been a visit full of laughter and tears and deep conversations. There have been times of wrestling and struggling in my heart concurrent with unexpected joyful and aha moments.
I have gotten face time with precious family members who hold shared memories and also surprises. I have drawn a clearer picture of people I love, as their faces and stories come more fully into focus. Hearing their perspectives, impressions, and experiences has brought unexpected tears along with head-nodding laughter.
I have connected more deeply with my people.
Those places of connection are settling in my heart as I ponder all the conversations that these days have held. The thing about real life stories and connections is that they belong to their own tellers. This is a space for mine, and for what I choose to process and share of it.
For now it is this picture of feet side by side and propped on a table as laughter rang out while tales were told.
And also the bowl of M&Ms that kept me grounded when I needed some space and chocolate.