After almost 20 years together, my sister Mary and her husband decided to formalize and have my Uncle Father Lloyd bless their union. It was beautiful and special.
I don't like to travel but I went to the Dominican Republic to be with them on their special day. Sheila and my children, William and Sarah, went as well.
Duncan's family comes from the west coast of Canada and my family comes from the east coast and although some in the family had met each other most hadn't.
The trip included Mary & Duncan, their two children and 40 other people many of whom hadn't met. It was a wonderful spiritual experience to see two families separated by distance, blend so quickly and so firmly.
While I was there, I wrote this:
Stephen King recently wrote "inside every man is a stranger." I think that's true. There are parts of every man, woman and child's mind, experience and personality that remains a stranger, a mystery.
A funny thing happened, at least to me, on this wonderful wedding excursion. I found that I let my stranger that lives inside me experience this special place and these special people.
I let my stranger talk to Ruffie's stranger and I came away from that conversation not only knowing him a little better but knowing the stranger inside me a little better as well.
A little while before young Katie's third birthday party, I had a chat that I will remember for the rest of my life. I talked to Camille.
It was a beautiful moment.
I was sitting down on the grass and looking up into her beautiful eyes and beautiful face. I let the stranger inside me participate in our little "get to know each other" chat.
Camille said that she loved the way that my family got along so well together.
Instead of letting Peter E. O'Neill esq. comment on that, without full disclosure, I was honest.
I said, "it's not always like that."
The stranger inside me said "I come from a family with strong personalities."
When we love, we love fiercely.
When we battle, we battle fiercely, but when it's really important, we can put it aside; no matter what!
Camille paused before she said anything and lowered her head slightly and if I had not been sitting on the grass, looking up, I would have missed the mischievous glint in those beautiful eyes as she said softly,
"Sounds like my family."
Camille wheeled away from that conversation and I walked away, but I walked away knowing the stranger inside me a whole lot better.
Thank you very much Camille and thank you Mary, Duncan, Connor and Maggie for giving us a chance to meet the people that have been part of our family for almost two decades.
Family since then, strangers no longer.
In giving us this wonderful period of time, space and love, I think that we have all learned a little more about the strangers in ourselves.
May God Bless us and keep us well.