I have travelled to Cluj this weekend to celebrate a great uncle on his 93rd birthday. I must confess that I was taken aback by how nervous I felt. So nervous that my body was reacting physically to the strength of the emotions. I stopped to think about why I feel the way I do. It was after all a good thing we were going to celebrate and not commemorate.
I realized that it is a moment of great vulnerability for me because, while we may wear tens of masks on life’s journey, we shed them all when it begins and when it is approaching the end. It really doesn’t matter whether you are the one at the beginning or the end – just being alongside someone who is welcomes you into a special realm and touches your core.
Going from my great uncle’s house to the cathedral in the middle of the town where a baptism was being performed made me feel like traveling through time, reaching both ends of the journey in the span of only a few hours.
Listening to my great uncle tell stories of youth and all the people who have touched him along the way and watching the family and friends gather around the tiny baby at the beginning of her life affirmed my belief that what makes the difference in this journey is indeed our spirituality- as Brene Brown defined it – the fact that we are inextricably connected to each other by a power greater than ourselves and which is rooted in love and belonging.