Pete Gavin: The Family of Things

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Pete Gavin has a new job and its reminding him that everything is connected.

The last few years have been tough. In addition to the surreal state of things these days, my family has suffered several big losses, including the death of my mother. I try to see challenges in a glass-half-full sort of way, but lately this has been particularly trying. That said, at times I feel I’m making some progress.

Recently I took on a new job as a driver. Every day I deliver medication to people in need, many with terminal illness. I don’t always see them. Often a family member, or caretaker, answers the door, and I hand over the medication and I’m off to my next address. But occasionally someone engages me in conversation, and when they do, I listen, and if appropriate, offer my empathy.

By now, many of the homes and facilities I have visited before. Many of the people who answer the door I have seen before — I even recognize some by name. Sometimes I think I may understand just a little bit of what they’re experiencing, but it’s only my place to bring them what they need. Still, I feel for them, sometimes in a surprisingly profound way.

And strangely I feel connected, connected to someone I don’t know at all. It’s an odd feeling because I am a stranger…yet I am seeing them in a very private time.

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In her poem, Wild Geese, Mary Oliver points out all of us — whether human, animal, plant, or any object of the natural world — belong to the same alliance. She writes, “[the world] calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting — over and over announcing your place in the family of things.”

We all belong. We are all connected.

With a Perspective, I’m Pete Gavin.

Pete Gavin lives in Sonoma County.