Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: The Family Reunion (06/05/08)
TITLE: Joyce and Gladanne
By Ed VanDeMark
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There may be as many as five generations of us alive on planet earth at this time, but Joyce, Gladanne and God are the only ones who know for sure. Gladanne travels the world and visits family where ever she goes. She also keeps a running genealogy. Joyce stays connected with every other means that the genius of technology has given us. One aunt and one cousin and both sides of my family are still connected.
Eleven years ago a feeble attempt was made to get us together but in reality it was weddings that brought us together then and now its funerals. My life has overlapped with seven generations of family yet in reality Iíve only truly known three of them and bits and pieces of two others.
Until recent years the two sides of my family had only settled in six northeastern states. Like the root system of a willow tree the family subtlety migrated into all the world. We are no longer the cohesive generations my parents and grandparents knew, where the boy next door married his best friendís sister. I not only wouldnít recognize many of my relatives, I donít know many of their names. They live in places Iíve never heard of, work at jobs I know nothing about and worship in ways I might not recognize. We are strangers yet we carry a blood and genetic similarity in our bodies.
If it werenít for people like my dear Aunt Joyce and my wonderfully crazy cousin Gladanne and their efforts to keep us connected, we wouldnít have roots. In recent weeks, with the passing of my father, Iíve felt orphaned. It makes no difference that Iím well into my Social Security years, Iím an orphan and suddenly family roots are important to me.
In years of not so long ago, reunions meant sitting down at a common table but our world has changed. Perhaps the best we can hope for is an electronic renewal of family. As cold as it appears, it is in reality the world weíve created for ourselves. We establish linkages that donít involve vision or touch or any of the other five senses, yet in our resilience these connections are heart felt and there is a mysterious glue that bonds us one to another.
God gives us the people with the gifts we need to meet our basic needs. Aunt Joyce approaches her 80th birthday in the fall and Gladanne recently celebrated her 68th. Will there be a next generation for whom the value of family is important enough to dedicate their lives to the task of keeping us connected? For my family I believe our reunion maker of the future is my daughter Lisa Kay. Less clear is what reunions of the future will look like. The common table isnít likely to include a turkey, or apple pie. I believe the God who established the family as one of the three essential organizations for human survival, will provide not just the people he gifts to carry the family forward. He will provide a rewarding form of the common table around which we will continue to experience the blessings of family.
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