Friday, January 29, 2010

Family Is..

A recent quote I came upon says it so well “Family is our link to the past and our bridge to the future”.

When I was very young, my parents felt the call of God upon their lives, moved to Kentucky and established a church there. Starting a Home Missions work, a new ministry and church, from the ground up is never easy. Leaving family and friends, secure jobs and entering a place where you know no one requires dedication and a strong faith and my parents had both attributes. As a family, we have made many sacrifices through the years but no regrets.

In the last few weeks, I have realized that one of our sacrifices including visits with family, especially the Hodge side of our family. The Chasteen side of family, especially my Great Aunts and Great Uncles, lived close enough and were such a part of lives that they were more like additional sets of grandparents rather than aunts and uncles. Growing up, there was not a lot of money for traveling back and forth to Ohio so we only saw the Hodges once in a great while. Then as everyone gets older and busy with school and work and family, it is so easy to let the bonds slip. Now today, my cousins and I are more strangers than cousins.

Should it be that way? Every family has differences. Every family has their own lives. Every family has its problems. Everyone is busy. But should we become so self-involved that we forget who we are and who we are connected to? Probably not but I am sure my family is not the only one facing this reality today. It seems parents/grandparents are the glue that holds a family together and once that glue is gone…the thread is broken.

Last winter, as I tried to work on our family’s history, I was amazed at how much has been forgotten on both side of my family. Maybe even more incredulous is how much we’ve never known…like the name of my dad’s grandparents. What would life be like today if the internet had been around 100 years ago, 50 years ago or even 25 years ago. This picture is one of only three that I have of my grandparents, Maggie and Elmer Hodge, together.

My dad comes from a large (at least in this day) family and they are blessed to still have each other. Last week, as we gathered for my aunt’s homegoing service, someone wanted a picture of those present. It was a picture I had only dreamed of getting but would never have asked this side of the family for…(the rest of my family knows I am a crazy photographer!) but I was playing it cool. Only one brother was missing from this group picture (and with a little photoshopping – I may even be able to remedy that small problem).

Another unexpected picture…first cousins reunited! (At least of the ones who were present at the moment…a few late arrivals were left out – so sorry guys!) Over the weekend, I have been thankful all over again that my sister-in-law introduced me to Facebook. It has been an amazing memory to be reunited with so many cousins. One of my favorite all time songs – “How can we reach a world we never touch?” That is the question resounding in my heart – How can we show forth love to a world in need – if we can’t even send out a friend request to a family member?”

If you’ve been a follower of my other blog, you may know that back in June when I couldn’t located any pictures of my immediate family for my Father’s Day tribute, I became an advocate for “Family Pictures!” I am here to say – Take Pictures! Capture the moments you are together – you never know what will happen tomorrow! It doesn’t have to be some fancy DSLR – use what you have – whether it is a disposable camera, a phone – whatever!

I have enjoyed becoming reacquainted with my cousins and their families and look forward to the memories still to be made! Welcome to my world! To share joys and sorrows, rejoice at accomplishments and cry together at loss! We maybe strangers today with a shared past but I pray it doesn’t stay that way – We are the bridge to the future!

Joy 2 u! ~ C ~

P.S. Thanks for indulging me on this post…I promise this blog…won’t be too serious too often! That’s why I have “From the Heart of Clarissa’s Corner!

Previouly posted 1/17/10 at Clarissa's Crew