I had the privilege of attending a family reunion last week. It was over-the-top good, which is not always easy to say about family reunions.
Below is a poem I crafted to commemorate the event. A few words about it: Since this was Catherine’s side of the family, I believe it is safe to say the backdrop of the event for everyone was the processing of sorrow for her absence and our loss.
Catherine’s cousins decided to host a lantern-lighting ceremony on the second night. This is where paper lanterns are lit and, with the warm air that fills them, released into the sky. There were about two dozen lanterns lit that floated over Long Island Sound. Of all the ways we have commemorated Catherine, this was by far the most beautiful. You will see it referenced in the fourth stanza.
Sugar Pilates, by the way, refers to an impromptu Pilates session my children and cousins had on a lawn on the lower level of the house. My daughter and son led the instruction, but one younger cousin reportedly just rolled about the whole time, explaining she had had too much sugar.
All the other things mentioned are things you would expect to find at a family reunion. I do, however, wish to mention an experience I had. On the second morning during prayer, in the Spirit I saw Catherine in Heaven with her cousin’s daughter, who had died in the womb resulting from a car accident several years ago. She and Catherine were on a grassy bluff, and it was clear Catherine was looking after her younger cousin. They were happy and full of hope and expectation for the future. They were having their own family reunion — and also looking forward to a reunion that awaits us all.
Be blessed this day with the love, hope and expectation God alone can give, and which He has in abundance.
Perched upon a bluff overlooking the Sound
all that once was lost, it seems, is now found
in the eyes, the hearts, the faces, the dialects and tone
of those just met. But those, it seems, we’ve somehow always known.
Little things set the stage: Card tricks, food and drink, pictures taken, poolside ping pong,
swimming and paddling in waters smooth and rough, late-night arm wrestling matches,
tennis, tug-of-war, sugar Pilates down below;
Unbridled talent: Comedy, adjustments, instruments, interviews, dance and song,
historic spontaneous dance party! Long walks, driveway traffic, firefly catches,
lanterns lit, waterside words said and unsaid, rare sightings, calm night sky aglow:
All these thing tell us what we need to know:
That we are not forsaken.
That just below the shifting sands of life under our feet
is a Kingdom that cannot be shaken.
That through life’s waters both smooth and rough
The reckless inexhaustible love of the Father is enough.
And whether we are, for the moment, present or departed
Matters little: Our hearts are forever knit together, and we belong.
Photo by Leon Contreras on Unsplash