Tanks

No, not battle tanks.

As a kid, I came from a family that valued not wasting things. This included food — “can’t leave the table until you finish what is on your plate.” My grandparents lived through an economic depression. It was natural that this was part of our family belief system. As an adult with kids of my own, I tried to sell them on “the last bite is always the best.” It worked sometimes. But kids are clever. “My broccoli tank is full, but my desert tank is empty.”

I returned yesterday from a trip to see my daughter and son in-law, new residents of New York. There is a certain tank that feels filled from the time with them, for which I am grateful. I’m not totally sure what that tank is. Feels like lots of things healthy. A “connection to loved ones” tank. A “family playfulness” tank. A “getting to be dad” tank. A “getting to be welcomed” tank. A “getting to give them flowers” tank pictured above, a little artifact to presence the time together for just a bit longer after our parting.

The tank is likely also something even further underneath all of that. I suppose I share all of this because I feel tender with it, cracked open. And I suppose, I’m the kind of person that believes something like that with family can be true with team, and with groups, and with communities. I seek more of the conditions with groups that invite us to be tender together, and cracked open. And filling many tanks together — expanding fields of belonging.

What a gift to be with good people, smart and kind people, exploring even for a moment, life together. What a gift to feel filled. Noticeably. Palpably. And what a gift to do some filling.

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