Happiness, Returning & Emotion
So it’s going to be an interesting and stressful week, you see I’m heading back to the place I grew up for my grandmother’s memorial service. The range of emotions will be a bit staggering. There will be joy at seeing some people, my brother who I do not get to see often enough, my nieces and nephews, old friends and others. There will be tension, I have one family member in particular right now who I’m angry at beyond description. There will be sadness in the missing of my grandmother as the grieving process continues. There will be abundant annoyances I’m sure, unexpected opportunities for smiles and laughter. All in all a really mixed bag and a whirlwind happening over four days.
There is always both nostalgia and irony in returning to the town I grew up in. Nostalgia for the simplicity of life I had as a child, those places where I made significant memories. The irony in returning there for me is in that I had one single goal growing up and that was to get the hell out of that town. My childhood was complicated, not always happy, I never felt like I fit in even remotely with the majority of the people I grew up around. I lived under the delusion that it was all tied to that place and the answer was simple, get out. Of course it wasn’t, but I was young and naive, in fact leaving led to even larger problems and eventually to the knowledge I needed to eventually fix my problems.
We take our problems with us, they are after all, our problems. Place and people can of course exacerbate those issues but the issues reside within us. My home town was a small place, I always think about it when I hear a line in the Peter Gabriel song Big Time. The line, “they think so small, they use small words.” Finding a camaraderie of an idea in that song is not surprising as it is purported that he wrote the song as a response to former band mates who thought his head had gotten too big as a result of the success in his solo career. That town couldn’t offer me the things I wanted in life, when I was younger I thought that made it a bad place, it doesn’t. It just made it a bad place for me.
Each time I go there I think about this idea. I’m thankful for a lot that happened there, my childhood, complex and hard, also afforded me some very good things. Being a bit of street kid, I learned how to read people and that is a skill that has served me very well in my life. I also learned how to fight and what it feels like to physically get my ass kicked, both of those were very handy lessons. I learned a lot about the world there at far too young of an age, but I was exposed to realities in this world that I often realize others have not experienced well into middle-age. So I do have some gratitude for what that place provided.
I am glad I left, I can’t imagine my life having always been located there. I know, some of you reading this will be unhappy with what I’m saying. Those of you who never left might feel I’m putting myself above you, I’m not. If your decision to stay there worked for you, if you’re happy with your choices great. For me it wasn’t an option, I would have been miserable. The idea that I hope people reading this will draw is that places, biological family and even events bring about emotional responses for all of us. Some of those responses are far from positive. What’s important though, is how we choose to react to these things, the choices we make. So this week will be difficult, it’s my job to pull the positive experiences and focus on them, to make choices that minimize the negative experiences and attitudes. Then again isn’t that our job every week? In fact I think it is, and I hope you are all successful in that effort this week and that you have a happy seven days my friends ~ Rev Kane