I recently spent time at my family’s little cottage on Indian Lake in Michigan. It’s not fancy — lots of fans to keep us cool, a spotty WIFI, running water and lots of twin and bunk beds. But it’s our gathering spot.
There is a new jet ski, an old fishing boat and the lake is 30 yards from our deck. I hadn’t been back there in about 10 years because (insert whatever excuse any of us use). At any time, we might have had 4-8 people sleeping over and up to 20 people visiting during the day.
We grilled out, made old recipes of my grandmother’s, and reconnected with generations of family and friends — including new generations.
The kids played in the lake during the day until they fell asleep and it was time to go home. The adults took naps and then played card games late into the night.
Memories and laughter filled the cottage as new memories and connections/re-connections were made every moment.
I realized that I had been spending so much time obsessing about where I was going over the past few years that I neglected to realize how important it was to remember from where I had come. Stories of my ancestors. Lessons about friendship and forgiveness. Being reminded that my parents and grandparents once were kids and once were my age…dealing with life just as I am right now.
The biggest lesson I learned is that if you don’t understand where you came from then you will never understand who you are.