Sunday, March 23, 2008

Today I attended a cordial gathering to celebrate the Easter season, and it brought to mind the true meaning of family. I was not with ‘my’ family today; these were not ‘my’ children and grandchildren. (They were celebrating the holiday with their mother.) I was at some friends’ house and the other guests were their children and cousins. It was their family, not mine, that was surely feeling great satisfaction in their love and togetherness. Nevertheless, as I watched the friendly festivities throughout the afternoon, I felt no envy, no wish that this was my personal family celebrating together so affectionately. What I realized so clearly was that this was, in fact, my family. All of us who were sharing this food, this house, this planet, and this universe were members of the human family and – more than that – the family of life. We were part of a family that began with the ‘big bang’ some 15 billion years ago, and as such, we were just as inextricably connected to each other as my own brothers and sisters. In some miraculous way, several trillion of the atoms that were created those billions of years ago came together today in a house in Stonington in the form of 30 people. None of us were separate, really (though we humans like to think we are). At the party, we all shared glances, words, thoughts, feelings, and oxygen. Life flowed through, between, and among us just as surely as water flows in a river. I was a part of these people and they were a part of me, just as surely as I am a part of my children and they of me. It was my family, indeed, and it was the family of all of us. I truly felt as much affection and intimacy as if I were enjoying the day with Luke, Jaimie, Annie, Matt, and their spouses and children.

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