Family. This word has always meant love, safety and a sense of belonging and comfort. It is one of my core values and I am continually thankful for my heritage.
I am most often focused on my tribe of 4 kids, then my sisters, brother, mom and close nieces and nephews. We are intentional to create opportunities to relate to one another with honesty and care. I feel proud of us.
A few weeks ago, I traveled back home to NM for a memorial service for the one remaining uncle in my family tree. He was closest to my dad, who passed away in 2007. The gathering was a beautiful time of celebration of his life, accomplishments, values and faith. Many memories were shared through tears, laughter and love.
I listened with a feeling of deep connection to the outer branches of our family tree. I felt humbled and sorry that my inner tribe at home in Austin did not really know and never met some of these family members. I sent photos to my kids and the response was: “I don’t know most of them…”
These cousins and aunts were an integral part of my childhood. I sensed all of us were sharing this slight feeling of yearning for more connection as we talked and talked, laughed, sang and shared a meal. I was made aware of the unique gifts of one cousin and made a commitment to visit her gallery. Several cousins are traveling to Austin and we made plans to see each other.
My three main lessons through this:
1. Our family tree is full of love and faith…this is a rare and beautiful gift.
2. Time is short. There are no more uncles. 4 aunts. My siblings and I are becoming the older generation.
3. Nourish the roots of our family tree….connect, pass down stories and live a legacy.
My question: How can I creatively connect with my extended tribe on a regular basis?
To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for his own glory. Isaiah 61:3