On Monday of this week, I had the honor of presiding at the memorial service of one of my great aunts. It was amazing to stand and look out at the members of the congregation that were made up of cousins that I had not seen in many years, along with family members whom I had never met. All of us were there to honor an amazing woman, and one who lived through hurt and tragedy. She did not let her very humble beginnings define her. Instead, she rose up and had an amazing life. Blessings to you Great Aunt Jessie. May you feast to your heart’s desire with family who have gone on before you. May you smile in their presence, and may God’s light perpetually shine on you, providing you warmth for eternity.
After the service, I visited with people with whom I share a DNA connection. I looked for patterns of behavior, likes, dislikes, even ways to speak. I searched for anything to affirm my connection with this group of people. I shared stories, they shared stories. We laughed, sometimes shocked, but always grateful to be in one another’s presence. The power of my great aunt’s life was alive in this very room. A family can rise above anything and find a connection that is unique and compelling. The discovery of kindred spirits gave way to a lifetime of possibilities, hopes for new friends and new connections.
Today I am grateful for my extended family. Thank you for giving me a little clearer definition of my own self. These amazing people, complete with their own life stories, affirm my own journey. There is nothing quite like being accepted for who you are by people who share the same blood. There is a sense of home, of complete and total affirmation. Praise be to God, when we can catch of glimpse of ourselves in a new and unique space.
Today, I sit in my office, absolutely tired. I notice I sit with a little more pride, a little more strength. I give thanks for the path on which I travel. There are a few more people who eagerly great me with a smile and help me move forward. I am honored to walk my path with new names and faces alongside me. My hope is that we all find companions for the journey.