Sidney - Farmville, Virginia
Entered on October 30, 2007
Age Group: 65+

My recent visit to Costa Rica reminded me of my kinship with all people. I hold to my heart the belief that we are all brothers and sisters, not lone, alone, individuals, but members of an infinite, integrated family. We share the same concerns; love of family, safety, good health, pride in our part of the endless collection of living souls, with whom we share the earth.

In an effort to show my children as they grew away from my side, that we all are the same, I invited foreign people vacationing in the U.S. to share our home while they visited our country.

Our first guest was a gentleman who taught English in the German schools. He was used to being with children so the first experiment in exploring our sameness was a great success. My youngsters learned how other children, like themselves, sometimes did not do their homework, or played hooky from class and had some of the same joys and fears that pestered them. They had their first glimpse at our common traits and feelings.

The next year, still involved with the same organization, we were hosting a young woman from Italy, who was studying to be an attorney. She was a lovely girl, very nice to my inquisitive clan, but there was an air of sadness about her. I questioned her and learned she came to the country with her beau and the rules of the organization kept them from enjoying the trip together. My gang discussed the problem and agreed to make some bedroom changes and adjustments that offered the young couple the chance to stay with us…in separate bedrooms, complying with the rules of the sponsoring program.

We spent the next two weeks with this lovely couple, soon to be married, learning about them and their culture and them about ours. Now, an Italian/English dictionary joined the worn German/English dictionary, a thank you gift from the guest of last year, as our centerpiece on the dining table. Great sadness filled our hearts as we said farewell to our new family members.

My four grew in leaps and bounds, with an understanding and kinship with other people; adults and peers. Approached by the children’s services of our state to consider foster children, my family confabulated and again shook up the bedroom routine and opened our home and hearts to children whose families were under stress. All of us learned to comfort sadness and fear, ours and theirs’; to share our closeness and private parts of our life in an effort to help these kindred spirits through rough times.

Various foreign exchange student groups blessed us with young people from Japan, Poland, Germany, Equador, Costa Rica, Thailand and many others to share their lives for a short time, usually a year, teaching us their food, interests and sharing their families; joys and tribulations.

My children are grown and living their own lives and loves. Students from over the world still share my home and their love and hopes with me as their American mother, gracing my home with tears, love and laughter.

The integrated infinitude of people makes me feel a part of a family that is boundless, with no beginning and no end. As I, and my family share our lives with others of different cultures, politics. religions, and as I continue to seek out more lives to share and study, I experience and am in awe of our infinite oneness. It brings to mind the Pet Milk can of days gone by with the black and white cow on the label, going back and back and back into infinity.