Embrace paradox…

“Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”

From its very first sentence, Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina made young Teddy think. He was trying not to. He, not unlike the mass of men in our day or in Thoreau’s was leading a life of quiet desperation. You see, young Teddy has already lost his father. Soon after and on the exact same day, he lost his Mother and his lover, Alice. Alice (22) had just given birth to their first child. Young Teddy ran from his feelings and fueled himself with busyness. He fled his east coast confines for the open spaces of the West and took up residence in the Badlands. He ranched and rode his horse. He worked. It was a good distraction – for awhile…

Eventually, however, young Teddy realized his running away wasn’t the road toward his opus. So, he wandered back east and found solace and friendship in his childhood friend, Edith. Three weeks later this friendship turned to an engagement of sorts. Young Teddy secretly asked Edith to marry him. His newfound love opened his heart to his life’s work. He was a progressive reformer and wanted to do his part to bridge the gap between rich and poor. He wanted to hold big business to a better standard. And, in 1886, he would begin a long and life changing career in politics. He was 28. For 22 years he would serve his country, eventually in its highest office as President. President Roosevelt, that is…

Young Teddy is kinda like you and me. Young Teddy faced all sorts of adversity. He lost. He loved and lost. He loved again, anyway. His willingness to open his heart led his head to discover his identify and author his opus. His builder’s journey was quite public. Yours may be as well, or, it may not. Your job, just like mine, is not to worry ’bout that. Your job is simply to sing. Sing your song.

Everyday in BTL practice, we aim at embracing paradox. We believe faith and doubt are bookends – tough and tender are too.  We connect and we care for each other. We challenge too. We don’t run from feelings and we don’t run over the vulnerable either. It feels good to embrace the paradoxical truth about family too. Happy ones are NOT always happy are they. Happy day after Thanksgiving, even though these days always feel like a loss to me. Happy day, friend…

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