Family Home Evening is one of those things I picked up on when I lived in Utah. And since me and my sister are on the periphery of mormonism but definitely not real mormons by any stretch of the imagination we jokingly call it "Heathen FHE".
This week was kinda the first week of this new tradition. For the past year, my sister and I didn't really talk to each other. She is 8 years younger than me and had to go out in the world and grow up and now she is an adorable, sweet, responsible young woman who is gracefully and bravely continuing to live her life in the wake of her mother's sudden death a few weeks ago.
After all the dust settled from the funeral and we both made it safely back home, I asked her if she would have (H)FHE with me every Monday.
I enjoy FHE because, while it is about family, to me it is really about community: It is not an exclusive activity, but an inclusive one. My sister and I have FHE at my house and my roommates come and go with their stories and conversations and it would also be OK to include a friend or even a stranger. We just spend time making and eating dinner and catching up with each other about the week or doing a simple project like making ice cream or creating post cards. Its really basic. And that is why I like about it. It is a night to honor the folks who are, for whatever reason, in my living room that night. And its one night a week which is dedicated to celebrating the joy and love that these people bring into my life. It doesn't matter if they've been in my life 21 years or 21 hours. I just matters that they're here and that we all are appreciative of each other's existence.
Our culture seems to be set up for people to honor their spouse of their partner in many ways on many days through out the year. We also have ways to show love and appreciation for our parents and children (if you've got 'em). But what about everyone else? Since college I've started to feel like the only way to honor friends is to take them out to dinner or to throw a party all of which requires driving around town and parking and spending a lot of money and energy and often leaves me so exhausted that I wish I didn't have any friends to begin with.
Setting aside one night a week to gather with the folks who are important in my life feels incredibly comforting and rewarding. Observing Heathen Family Home Evening is a great way to make a habit of honoring everyone in my life: my sister, my roommates, my friends and my Singlutionary dog. We sit around and share good company, laughter, simple homemade food and (if your heathen like me) a bottle of wine. But really we mainly sit around being grateful for each other.
Call it whatever you want but I heart this new tradition. And I heart it even more because it has nothing to do with spending or status. Its really about just being us, whoever we are, no matter what we're going through.