Two words never sparked so many thoughts in so many people, I’d venture to guess. Memories from childhood of great aunts pinching cheeks and giving too many wrinkly-lipped kisses to all the lucky children, staying up until the wee hours of the morning playing games like Risk or Rummy with old people you’d never imagine staying up later than 8PM, hearing one roaring-with-laughter story after another and discovering rattlesnake skins on the sidewalk…these are the kinds of memories the words “Family Reunion” invoke.
In a time when younger generations seem like they couldn’t care less about connecting with the older generations, I hope to instill in my son the deep value of bridging that ever-widening gap his entire life long.
Blessed. My family is blessed on both sides to have so many older living relatives. Of course, many have already passed, but compared to many of my friends, it seems that we have a remarkable amount of the older generation still here with us, and some of them are impressively old! (I mean that with the highest esteem.)
So, this past weekend, 5 of us piled into Mom’s car and headed out to West Texas for a family reunion with my mom’s side of the family. Don’t be shocked, but I wasn’t completely thrilled about the whole idea. I mean, a very active almost-4-year-old in a car for 6 hours (wait, didn’t we just survive a trek to Florida with this kid in our car?!), a day talking to a lot of people we don’t know very well and lots of hours to creatively keep him entertained and well-behaved with no chance of a nap…that didn’t sound like a relaxing weekend.
It sounded exhausting, honestly
, and it was. BUT…I’m so glad we went. Against the backdrop of Tanglewood Lake and Palo Duro Canyon, I was struck with the realization of the God-loving heritage I have on both my mother’s side and my father’s side. I don’t know these people as well as many other relatives, and one thing stuck out above everything else as we chatted: these faith roots are deeper than I knew. Bible-believing, praying people, give-anyone-the-shirt-off-their-back kind of people, they are.
This is why I brought this rowdy child here, I think to myself. He may never remember running around with all the little cousins out on that harlequin-patterned wood floor or offering his chubby, soft hand to the crinkly, large-veined hand of a 95-year-old farmer as he introduced himself in his gregarious way, but someday I will show my son these pictures and explain to him the legacy of what the older generations sowed into the soil of this family and how the fruit can continue to proliferate. What a gift.
My heart has pondered these things since we returned home:
If not for the older generation, just where might we be? In a day where rockets plague streets that don’t seem so far anymore, where planes are shot down out of skies and people are at a loss for what to think or believe about anything in this world, a world we love and hate simultaneously…I think we’d do well to open up our ears and hear the hearts of a generation who’s been here the longest, seen history write itself and given so much.