I saw a movie last night in which four grown children return home for their dad’s funeral. To honor his last wishes they stay for a week to bond again as a family. From the get-go, their sibling dynamic kicks in as you are offered a glimpse into their individual challenges. In a nutshell, each one is trying to figure out why they are staying in their lives such as they are, or whether they should go.
While watching, I was reminded about my own family and friends. I thought about perspective and how you never have the whole picture of someone else’s life. It’s so easy to stand in judgment or even revere someone when we go with the information they show us and the world on a daily basis. But what we don’t know is what they aren’t showing us. When we encounter a challenge with them, by default it becomes all about us. Our first instinct is usually to protect our feelings.
Truth is, the challenges occur to show us what to do next. They happen so that we can learn to be vulnerable. How often have you really stepped back and allowed a situation to unfold all the way? When was the last time you gave someone else permission to be human? We never know what makes someone else tick, because we are usually so busy processing how we are feeling in the midst of our encounter with them. And since figuring that out keeps us so busy, we may miss the whole point.
It is in the midst of our interactions with other people that we learn about ourselves. It is here that we gather information for our future. And it is here, where we hold on or let go.
At the end of the movie, one of the brothers is seen driving his brothers borrowed Porsche along I-95 to Maine, a trip he has always wanted to take, but has never been able to find time to. Top down, hair flying, wind at his face, he is making a move to live outside the box that hasn’t served him. He is taking a risk by letting go. And in doing so, he is holding on. And the ending is perfect. It is a beginning at the end of an ending. And that, I know today, is what life is all about.