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Rules of Engagement

For tonight
celebrating 163 birthdays
among the three of me,
my husband,
and oldest son’s May birthdays
within four days of each other

For tonight
unestranged,
and, if we each prefer,
for the remainder of our lives
more together,
less apart

We are here to understand
and express appreciation
for and with each other,
not to fix anyone’s misunderstandings
or positions
or perspective
or ignorance
or sin
against God
or Country
or common sense,
or love for each other,
or all of the above.

That way,
if we get confused
about which of these

White God
Red v Blue country
or common sense

Pillars of economic and political wisdom
we have so shamefully violated,

It doesn’t matter
because we’re not going to try
to understand Othering tonight

And, if you prefer,
for the remainder of our co-invested lives
more together,
less apart.

If you want feedback
about Past or Future You,
please ask
Because, for tonight,
we are here together
to hear how you are feeling now
about appreciating abundant you
as you are

And about appreciating us
as we are

And any memories of our past
we can revisit
with full integrity
appreciating you
as part of us–
your Me
as our interwoven We.

So, if you want feedback
about how and what you are doing
and not doing,
about who you are becoming
or not becoming,
you will have to ask.

If you get feedback
you cannot appreciate,
at least as yet,

Please, let’s help remind each other,
calmly and kindly,
that giving unsolicited feedback,
including how to solve your stupid problems
for you,
violates our rules for tonight
and, if you prefer,
for the remainder of our lives,
more together,
less apart.

These rules apply to you,
about yourself,
and about us,
and include me,
about me,
and about us.

I invite your kind
and calm reminder,
and my own
this night to appreciate
and celebrate who I am
as I am
and who you are
as we are
compassionately co-invested

Without judging ourselves
or Others

Without shaming ourselves
or blaming Others
for what we have failed to understand
and to express co-passionately,

To water our flowers
and rewarm our best days,
and not feed the cold dead weeds
of our worst days
before this our night
more together,
less apart.

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