We recently experienced the indescribable joy and gratification of sharing a meal with a cousin whom I haven’t seen for many years. It came as no surprise to either of us that the meeting felt as if no time had elapsed since our last encounter.

The older we get, the more vital our family connections become. In many cases, it’s only because of miracles and serendipity that family reunions occur. Consequently, we must seize any and all opportunities to make them happen.

My guess is that neither of us will forget the mood, spirit or shared history that we enjoyed. While we laughed over memories, experiences and opinions, we both reveled in our link that superseded time or distance.

Advancing two days, we experienced a family visit that was exactly opposite in terms of laughter or excitement. In this case, my cherished relative neither spoke nor moved, locked in the immutable grip of her depression and confusion. She smiled at me between her sighs and sleep, causing me to hope that my expressions of love were heard and understood.

As we continue our travels toward  more loved family members, my heart is happy and pained. We have the blessings to compound the joy of the first meeting and the tragedy of the second, realizing how many lack the jewels we prize in our family treasure chests.

Don’t wait to reinforce family affections and alliances. Time may rob you of the ability to forgive, forget and forge new trusts. Those who ultimately leave the greatest footprints on your life highway will also be improved and thankful. Shalom.

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