My nephew A. is married to a lovely Japanese girl, T., who he met in college. She was an exchange student. They fell in love, got married, and he moved to Japan. They recently had a baby too. He's completely adorable.
My sister in law, Marybeth recently went to Japan to visit, meet and spend time with her new grandson. She just got back from there, and brought Missy and I all sorts of lovely gifts. The one which most took my breath away is this:
The painting on that fan is my all time favorite piece of art, Katsushika Hokusai's The Great Wave Off Kanagawa. I have always loved it. It speaks to me in so many ways. Marybeth, and all my Japanese relatives scoured shops in Kyoto to find me this fan.
That blows me away. I've met T. several times, and met her whole family when they came to America for their wedding. They're lovely people. I know in the years to come we will become close. But for now, they're intimate strangers to me - people I'm just getting to know. It's so incredibly thoughtful that they would take time during their visit with Marybeth to look for this thing, for me.
There's a great truth peeking out from inside this happy little story. People matter to each other. We're all connected, in mysterious, ineffable ways. Life's like this enormous tapestry, in which every single person is one thread. As we live that thread grows, lengthens, wraps around, over, under other threads, binding and connecting them. Together, our lives form a beautiful work of art, a magnificent totality.
I'm grateful for the threads that touch my own.