On Being a Living Circus

So I just got back from a family trip.  A big family trip.  My niece got married out in the Pacific Northwest and many from my clan went out for the occasion.  There were some that unfortunately could not make the trip and we were sad they weren’t there.  But alas, we made the most of it anyway.

We had several days to hang out, site see, eat too much, break things, find new uses for cup holders, put too many people in hot tubs and climb ladders we ought not climb, induct new members into the Fairy God Wedding Coordinator Society, reach the chocolate level, eat moose, eat pizza, throw snakes on each other and eat more pizza, bless a new home with glow stick wands and glasses, get into fender benders, run out of money, have need for extra strength tylenol more than once and follow the blue ball on any given iphone.  And I mean all of these things quite literally…if you know my family, you understand.

My sister coined a phrase that best suites our status as a family.

 “We are a living circus!”

I couldn’t have said it better!

As I reflect on my week-long adventure I am grateful for so many memories to cherish but there is something more that I’m grateful for.  You see, we are a close family but we have many rough edges.  We can inadvertently scrape each other because we are close. We are not perfect but we love with abandon.  At all costs, we love.  Sometimes spending so much concentrated time together in tight cars, strangers homes and unfamiliar surroundings costs something.

Usually something makes us get out of our comfort zone and we have to deal with…being uncomfortable.

I watched my mother choose to be daring and live outside her comfort zone just by boarding a plane and relying on help from her family to participate.  She has had to embrace so many life changes and challenges.  Yet she chose to be uncomfortable for a moment in order that she could receive a greater prize by experiencing the adventure.

I witnessed my father stepping up to the plate once again to serve and honor his family, even if it meant that he wasn’t always in control of the schedule, dinner options and car keys.  (You know how important these things are for dads!)

My niece tried valiantly to throw a snake on my brother…wow that guys still moves fast.  He is seriously uncomfortable with snakes and would have, without a second thought, sacrificed any and all electronic devices in his path jumping to avoid the little monster.  And for my brother, his computer and phone are a staple in life…but when you are uncomfortable you don’t care what breaks when desperate to get back to the comfort zone.

My brothers threw my sister in the pool, fully clothed.  She was uncomfortable.  But it was priceless! 🙂

From time to time situations would occur that would drag any one of us (sometimes unknowingly and unintentionally) out of our comfort zones. Being left out of a car ride or trip, communication mishaps, schedule changes and re-changes, trying to function with a less than cooperative body, hurting for a hurting child, getting angry with a child, being misunderstood, feeling lost, not feeling good enough….

Anytime a family converges,

the potential for inner issues to emerge arises. 

But that is the beauty of being in a living circus! Where else can you go and be challenged and embraced at the same time?

I hate clowns.  I always have and I always will. They are creepy and sinister and scare me.  Anytime I have gone to a circus I have had to face them, look at them and accept them…clowns are just part of circus life. When I face my fear of clowns I get stronger and become more prepared to deal with the creepiness that tingles my spine.  So you could say clowns have a purpose, they make me a better me.

I may be internally dented but my engine still works.  Being nudged out of my comfort zone teaches me that being uncomfortable isn’t the worst thing in the world and it certainly won’t crush meInstead it helps define me.  Do I accept the challenge that comes with being uncomfortable and perhaps experience something good, new or healing? Or do I stay behind and waste in my own sorry emotions?

I gained so much from this latest adventure.

I truly never know what I’m going to get when I’m around my family.  I usually laugh a lot, reflect a lot, negotiate and navigate a lot.  But I get a lot too.  I get the opportunity to grow.  I get the privilege of making mistakes, being clunky, feeling needy and in need of grace without being kicked out of the circus.

We also created a motto for the week:

In the moment and out of the box!

(ok so you  probably think by now we are nutty to also have a motto, but you have to understand my family…we are always creating something to remember our moments by)

We realize that our time together is a gift, good or bad it is always a gift.  So why not embrace it and see what’s inside the wrapped box?  Our living circus exists to bless and build.  Sometimes blessing and building comes by way of being nudged outside the comfort zone. No matter who or what changes, the circus is always there for me. For us.

So I will keep my Living Circus, thank you very much.  I really hope you have one too.


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