"Every time a group of people is gathered together, everybody who is needed is present." --Dale Stubbart in New Spirit Journal
Everybody who is needed is present....This is a concept I have struggled with mightily throughout my life. At most significant events in my life there was always somebody missing, or somebody who I thought "shouldn't" be there. I always had in mind the "perfect" guest list and inevitably it included someone who couldn't make it or didn't include someone who could.
As I have walked the spiritual path I have come to see the truth in this statement, but I still struggle against it sometimes.
After we came back from Japan we hosted my husband's cousin and his family at our house for a week. The timing couldn't have been better as our upstairs tenants had just moved out so we had two empty bedrooms, a bathroom and even a small kitchen to offer for their stay.
My husband's family definitely fall into the category of "the more the merrier" types. There seems to be at least one "extra" person at every family gathering and inevitably if you are hosting an event someone will call and ask, "Can I bring....my cousin/best friend/brother-in-law?"
I have grown used to this over the years, but that doesn't mean it is easy for me. And it wasn't any easier this time when my husband's cousin kept inviting people over to our house. His dad's cousin came for dinner. His step brother came for a visit. He even went so far as to offer his dad's cousin a ride to the family wedding IN OUR CAR. And all of this without a word to either of us. As if he were inviting them to his house, to his dinner party, to ride is his car.
It was infuriating.
Where I come from (the mid-West) this is the height of rudeness. You would never even think it was okay to bring someone extra to a dinner party, but if you did you would certainly ask first. And you would never presume to offer some a ride, in someone else's car, without asking.
All week I struggled with this. On the one hand reminding myself that WE ARE ALL ONE and everyone's cousin really is my cousin too; on the other hand silently fuming at the complete disregard our guests were showing for me.
The thing is - and I know this - my husband's cousin wouldn't think twice if the shoe were on the other foot. I could bring my sister, my parents, my long lost best friend to his house for dinner uninvited and unannounced and he would be totally fine with it. Better than that, he would welcome them as family.
So what's the "right" thing to do?
That's where it gets tricky.
I think ultimately, of course, the right thing to do is to welcome one and all, to adopt a "more the merrier" mentality and embrace the Oneness. But I'm not there yet. People still exhaust me, they drain my energy and make me want to run for the nearest sensory deprivation chamber. Especially people I don't know who are invited into my space by someone other then me without my permission or okay.
So I need to continue to work on speaking my truth and setting good boundaries (next time this cousin visits I need to let him know how I feel and what I expect vis-a-vis "extras") and remember that in these situations that everybody who is needed is present. Whether I can see it or not.