I have just had a celebratory family reunion in Maine this past week, and I thought it appropriate, rather than write a new edition, to share an updated reprint of an earlier (5/9/2020) SEP on my reflections of family reunions in the spirit of raising your thoughts about your family reunions over the years.
Because of a much anticipated family reunion this past week, I have been reflecting on what it means to our deepest selves to reunite with family and friends. Here are some thoughts.
For the past three years plus now I have been enjoying a Zoom reunion with my college friends of more than fifty years ago, many of whom I hadn’t seen since graduation in 1965. And I understand many of you have also enjoyed Zoom reunions during Covid with family and friends who you also haven’t been in contact with for a number of years. Reunions are often a precious source of a sweetness of renewed reconnection with the long-shelved memories of the varied relational places and dramas, and the challenging circumstances of our lives evoked by those relationships.
The heart of a reunion with family or old friends, however, is ultimately less about reacquainting and reminiscing as it is a reunion with ourselves. Each session leads us into recalling a whole range of personal evolutions in our lives: places where we lived; poignant experiences of transitions (good, bad, indifferent and many perhaps mercifully forgotten); moments of success and disappointment; loves and losses along the way; experiences to be celebrated or rued; the role of just plain luck; and all that was supported by a cast of hundreds, if not thousands, of fellow travelers who have accompanied us on our journey: family members, co-workers, mentors, guardians, and a bunch of warm friendships that scroll down through our memory like credits after a movie.
The combination of recollections of our past lives and their emotional stirrings also may give rise to a recalibration of our current and future life priorities and, perhaps, for the older ones among us, a renewed awareness of the limitations on our anticipated life span. For me the opportunity for cherished reunions has provided me a sort of settling into acceptance and celebration of my life that also quiets my soul. I am recollecting my life these days more in terms of wholeness and fulfillment, like putting the pieces together in a personal jigsaw puzzle. The delight in rediscovering old friendships and the precious memories they evoke, combined with contemplating how I am to live the final years of my life, seem like solid bookends of perspective to help manage and benefit from the relationships that are the mind, body and soul of our lives that are refreshed by our opportunities for reunions..
Blessings and peace to you, my friends,