Some years back my sister and one of our cousins organized a family reunion. This event has reoccurred since then on a regular basis. At each occurrence we have all been reminded of the blessing that our families represent in our individual and collective lives. Of course, as years advance, we are losing family members with the attendant pain and sorrow. The experience of family is always a mixture of joy and the not so joyous.
I believe that our families serve as an important object lesson. God gave us families to demonstrate that we exist outside ourselves. The real us is not just housed within our own body. We have an extension that hurts with us and rejoices when we rejoice. We also feel the joy and pain of that extended “us”. Our challenge is now to recognize that this blessing of family is much, much broader than simply those closely related to us by blood. In fact, our real family is all of humanity. We are all the children or offspring of God as the Apostle Paul declared and therefore one big, glorious family. Just as we share in the experiences, both pleasant and unpleasant, of our blood relations, we also are inescapably united to the emotional experiences of the entire human race. The old concept or belief that me and mine can prosper or fail, economically, educationally, socially, or emotionally, separate and apart from what others experience is a fallacy. That I can exist as an island of peace and prosperity while I am surrounded by a sea of conflict and deprivation. If everyone is not valuable, no one is valuable.