A family is a aggregate of personalities and habits molded and bound together by the forces of time and love. It is a collective memory encompassing blissful days of laughter, loving and joy, enduring, striving and surviving. It is legends and tales of sunshine and rain, snow and ice, dark and light. It is a corner cupboard drawer filled with the hurts and regrets from things said but not really meant that will be opened in time so it’s contents can be examined and thrown away. It is the stories, told over and over, of those who have gone before that point to marks in an unfinished timeline saying, “There, that’s where you began, that’s your story.” It is a communal song whose tones are unrecognized by those who aren’t part of the chorus, but whose melody can be learned by the ones who resonate with it’s timbre. It is genetic chains of smiles, eyes, bone structures, wit, dispositions and predispositions, thought and talent. It is new branches grafted onto the trunk of the old tree, growing in a new direction, yet becoming part of the whole, making it even stronger.
Children come into the world as tender blossoms in the spring. They are strangers, gifts whose giftedness is only revealed through time and nurture. Although they are family, they are not entirely familiar because their hearts and minds are sprung from a vast pool of possibilities, all bequeathed to them by generations of genetic estates.
Days pass and growth continues until, unexpectedly, the tree is shaken to its core by the turning of the earth and the blowing of the wind. Yet because it’s roots of love are so deep and wide, it is anchored tight and remains standing, in spite of the winds of storms or the heat of drought. All at once, the wind will calm, the rain will be gentle, the sun will provide it’s warm benediction, and fragrant blossoms begin to paint the landscape once more.
This family, whose seeds were planted by long forgotten generations of fathers and mothers, nurtured by love, blessed at it’s beginning by promise, held together by covenant and braced by prayer and the grace of God, is once again proving itself to be stronger than the forces that seek to topple it. The branches are reaching to the sun and giving thanks for the light. A divine institution, indeed.