The heart-shaped stone teetered precariously at the top of the pile as my brother’s hand hovered over it, willing it to stay on top. Scattered across a 50-yard section of beach were stacks upon stacks of rock columns. At first we thought the display the work of an artist, and stood back and admired. But soon we realized this was the result of many artists, and we, too were invited to leave our mark on the canvas.
My dad, mom, sister, brother and I all searched for the perfect stone, and we picked the spot to make our mark.
I stared at the creation, the ocean singing it’s rhythmic song in the background, and gratitude washed through my spirit like the waves washing up the beach.
Out of all the people in the world, these are the ones God chose to put in my original stack. I don’t know why. Lord knows I’ve done nothing – and I mean – NOTHING to deserve it. But I’ve been standing on that firm foundation a long time, and it has meant everything. These are the ones who built me during the most formative years of my life.
We are a part of two stone columns – the one from which we originally come, and the one we now are building. Both will look very different from the other. You may like one more than the other – but both exist, and serve a purpose. Each person, like each stone, has contributed to the art that is your life.
As we continue building our new stack, let’s also find ways to honor the ones that were our first foundation.
One way to do this is to take a FOO trip (family of origin).
That is why we were on that white-sand beach stacking rocks. For our parent’s 70th birthdays, my brother, sister and I gave them a FOO trip to Carmel and Big Sur in California.
Though my parents love their grandchildren and our spouses wholeheartedly, we knew how special it would be to have just the original 5 together. And it was.
We lingered over long dinners full of laughter, meaningful conversation, and good food. We walked down beaches, hiked in redwoods, and sipped wine while the sun set on the hotel veranda.
We even slipped back into our old roles – Dad taking care of everyone, my sister and I arriving late, Mitch playing the comedian, and Mom talking about the itinerary and the weather. It was a magical weekend – a treasured space in time that is now stamped into our hearts forever.
My sister’s son thought we were going on a FOOD trip, and I’m not sure that was too far off. We had the best seafood, served like pieces of art.
It was a good thing we hiked several miles each day to make up for the feasting.
Even if you don’t have an ideal relationship with your family of origin, I would encourage you to consider taking this kind of a trip. It may be that you only do it with one parent, or just your siblings if necessary. You never know what healing or growth may take place.