Last weekend was my brother-in-law’s 60th birthday. To commemorate the accomplishment of six well-lived decades, he and my sister invited our entire extended family to a party at their home in the foothills of Mount Hood. In honor of his birthday, Angelo built an enormous teepee in the backyard, which served as the party venue for the evening.
We all sat around the bonfire, laughing, eating good food, and helping the little ones roast marshmallows. We sang snatches of folk songs written by well-loved musicians like Woodie Guthrie and Simon & Garfunkel. The party was by no means fancy or expensive, but with the bonfire, the stars, and my family all around, it was one of the best experiences I’ve had in a long time. Especially now, when the world is so uncertain, this gathering soothed my soul, and left me fulfilled and uplifted. I realized that for our collective wellbeing, good times during trying times are unbelievably important.
The guests at the party ranged from 2 to 85 years old, and gatherings like these provide wonderful opportunities to show our children the things that are truly important in life: our relationships to others. After this party, I learned anew the invaluable lesson of joining together during crisis, and finding happiness in sharing in old traditions made new.
To put it simply, a night like this comes down to two words: Celebrate life.