by Ruth J. Hartman
This past weekend, my husband and I drove my parents to a family reunion in Tennessee six hours away. It was a fun time, getting to be with relatives we hadn’t seen for years. Although every time we’re together, we have more wrinkles and ailments, once we start laughing and telling old stories, the years melt away. It’s only when we look at past photos that we see the true mark of the passage of time.
Every year, our clan goes to a different relative’s house for the get together. This year was my brother’s house. Last year, it was mine. Next year, a cousin. It’s never the same group twice. Things come up. Illness. Work. Prior commitments. But it’s always a joy to see whoever can make it. I don’t know about you but being with my family is the only place I ever feel like I truly fit. All my quirks and weirdness finally make sense when I see the shared traits in cousins, aunts and uncles. Like we have a special, shared secret only we can be a part of.
Of course, looking around the room, it was hard not to notice who wasn’t there. A special aunt and uncle, who live too far away to make the trip any more, were sorely missed. The last time I saw my Dad’s sister two years ago, she’d mentioned that she didn’t know how much longer she’d have on this earth. It makes the sweet conversation we’d shared even more special to me. The older I get, the more I appreciate the advice and wisdom of those older than I am.
While my aunts and uncles are now in their seventies and eighties, and cousins are anywhere from fifty-sixty-seventy, there were a couple of new, bright lights this year.
My cousin had brought along her two grandchildren who we’d never met. One boy, two and a half, and his little brother, six weeks. I’m sure it won’t surprise you to know that every single pair of eyes in the room was on those two little boys. The joy they brought to everyone’s face was heartwarming. We went from comparing knee pain and house repair stories to turning our rapt attention to new little relatives who made us laugh at their smiles and giggles.
It’s amazing how God renews not only the earth, with its seasons and changes, but brings to us the hope of new beginnings and the joy of things yet to come within our families. Take time to enjoy those you love. Our time on this earth is only temporary.