Reflections On a Family Renuion

It seems like I've been off the planet for a while, but I really just went to Denver. I had spotty Internet service in the mountains, so I felt somewhat disconnected. After the initial withdrawal symptoms, it was nice. I played corn hole and watched no television. I hung some clothes on the line and, I felt like Laura Ingalls' neighbor. Half pint and I would have been friends.

I was attending a family reunion that included lots of twists and turns and some unexpected blessings. Over the course of my trip, I had eight plane flights with nary a delay, nor unpleasant seat companions. How often does that happen?

Once the relatives arrived from California and Florida and the Midwest, we had great food, lots of laughs and a few tears as we remembered the death of a loved one eight months ago. I saw cousins I don't see very often. We all decided we're turning into our parents, in appearance and ailments.

Our reunion was hosted by a relative by marriage who had not met any of the regular attendees. She opened her home and refrigerator to strangers, and by the time we all left, she was their favorite person in the room. Only God can open hearts in such a way. We are a blessed family.

As we overate and shared memories, it struck me that people become intimate by sharing their struggles. We can bond over joyous occasions, but true intimacy (into-me-see) comes from sharing a disappointment, a loss, a heartache. Because that's when we realize we are not alone. Every heart has been broken by one thing or another. No one escapes this life unscathed.

No matter what facades we erect, we all have fleshy, vulnerable hearts that long for security and affirmation and peace. It's how we're wired. When people gather in groups, there can be much superficial chit-chat, so I appreciate when people are genuine and open to connecting with another human soul. We had a lot of that at the reunion, aging cousins who shared our worries over declining parents and our hopes for grown kids still finding their way.

Colorado is a long way from Florida - a day's travel and enough of a time difference to mess with my sleep cycle for a few days. But at the Kemp reunions, it seems like we all live just down the street from one another.

Here's a picture from forty years ago...and one we recreated last week with the same cousins. 

Cool, huh?

This group is from my mom's side of the family - my mom who no longer attends the reunions because she's 95 and travel is not an option for her anymore. We called her and passed the phone around, so she could talk with everyone, although she doesn't catch much over the phone. When my mom and her two remaining siblings are gone, this group of cousins will become the elderly group in the family. We still feel like the kids, so this is weird to think about.

I don't know where the time went. But, it sure went fast.


I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

I think family reunions are wonderful. We had one of our own this summer. My children and their children. Over 30 of us now. It's a special time to share and remember days gone by.

Kate said...

Sounds wonderful :-) I'm glad everyone had a terrific time. It's so rare these days for families to come together and truly connect.

Barbara In Caneyhead said...

It's like a passing of a baton in a marathon race, the changing of the "old garde" in families. We had amazing family reunions on both my dad's and mom's sides of the family, until their parents and many of the siblings passed away. Now it is like there aren't enough people to make us all feel connected enough to go to the trouble or even if we decided to, to find how to contact all you would need to be. Now, any time Pete's family gets together it is like a mini-family reunion as there were 7 of them and together they bore 22 children and most of those have grown up and started having children. Just cherish those wonderful times and count yourself blessed that your family is still doing it!

Life & Faith in Caneyhead

Jo-Anne's Ramblings said...

Sounds like a bloody great time, I like family reunions although my family hasn't had one in a long time

Mari said...

I'm glad you could go. I love the re-enactment of the photo!