The Past and Future Collide

In Creating Happiness by Barbara Jacoby

The patriarch of a family with whom I grew up passed away this week. This family is one of the last connections that I have had to my hometown of Williamsport, PA. Of course, this takes me back to a time and a place that holds such a special place in my heart. I have so many happy memories of my life there, especially with regard to my family and friends.This week, Kirk started posting this blog on My, a forum about which I had heard but have never investigated. Interestingly, while he was cruising around some postings there, he came upon one for my hometown and once again within the space of a couple of days, I was again transported to my past. I started to think about how my life there contributed to the person that I am today and how despite my being 3,000 miles away from my roots, it is at times like these that I know that the time and space have no relevance.I had wonderful parents. Their family was everything to them and they sacrificed a lot for their 3 children. Such great values were instilled in us. We learned respect and manners and how to work hard. We learned the value of a dollar and how to treat others and a strong spiritual belief. And most importantly, we learned about love. We lived love. How we were taught and what we were taught by their examples has served us well for our adult life.

My sister and brother and I were not extremely close growing up. My sister and I shared our love for tennis and we made great doubles partners. But we also shared a room and that was not fun. She was the older sister and had her own life and her own friends and her own very independent spirit. My brother and I are only a year apart in age and I loved playing baseball and being silly and doing stupid stuff with him. But once we hit our teens, we also found separate worlds of interests and groups of friends.

The three of us have now come full circle and although my brother and sister live on the east coast and I live on the west coast, we are so entwined with each other. And although we are each so different one from another, we now complement each other rather than being in opposition to one another.

My brother has an indomitable spirit that has brought him through many cancer surgeries and so much pain that I can’t even imagine. I hope that today’s surgery will be the end of the pain and the cancer after 16 years of having to endure so much and having lost a kidney and a lung to this disease. And somehow through it all, he has had a highly successful career and is such a gentle, kind and giving person. And I am sure that the fantastic wife who has literally been right by his side through it all has played a major role in his success in all aspects of his life.

My sister is so special in her independence, intelligence and her always being there to help others. She was the one who looked after my mom on a daily basis in her later years while raising a fabulous daughter together with her awesome husband. She makes several trips to Europe each year and has put together a wonderful family history for us. She engineered my first trip to Europe last year as we traveled together, just the two of us on our first sister only adventure (which was greatly financed by her, my brother and Kirk) and gave me an experience that I will never forget. She has made a walking pilgrimage of more than 110 miles by herself across northern Spain and will be embarking upon another such pilgrimage across France in a couple of weeks – after returning from again seeing my brother through his surgery.

For me, it is a great experience to see how my past and the past of my family in our home town has come around to the present and how it has shaped who I am and what I do as I continue to embark on new experiences for the future. And to have such a wonderful family brings so much happiness to my life and to my very existence. For the love that we learned so very long ago has shaped all that we are and all that we are yet to become. Now that is true happiness.