Our Story

I went to our annual family reunion not too long ago.  It’s been held at the same place and the same time (the second Sunday in August at noon) for at least ninety years.  We eat, talk, and look through old photos and family trees, and then we move on to our record keeping, noting all births, deaths, marriages, and other significant milestones.  Lastly, we play games and top everything off with a piñata full of candy.

Although our family is diverse in experiences and background, we share a commonality.  I’m sure you’re thinking that commonality is being blood-relatives, but I’m actually thinking that we enjoy being part of a story, the Cogley family story.  There is something about being a part of an event that takes place every year at the same time and location that has meaning in a world that is constantly changing.   We also see ourselves as being part of something bigger, something that hopefully will continue to go on long after we pass on.

My extended family is really part of an even bigger story, and guess what?  You’re included in that story, too.  It’s the story of humankind, and the relationship forged by the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit through the Son’s incarnation as Jesus Christ.  This story is also much bigger than we are, and will continue for eternity.

There is value in recognizing our place in the larger picture of humanity’s story.  We begin to see the interconnection we have with each other, even those who seem most different from us, along with the interconnection we have with creation around us.  By viewing one another as fellow players in this “God-movie,” we see our common humanity, both good and bad, in each other.  This produces patience and compassion, as we perceive ourselves in one another.

I recently read in Mark Nepo’s Book of Awakening about a tradition in South Africa called Ubuntu, which means, “I am because you are; you are because I am.”  Nepo writes:

            …In the ignited space of our deepest suffering, in the release of our deepest fears, in the familiar peace of our deepest joys, we are each other. (177)

The Cogley family is a diverse group, and as with any group, there are disagreements and personality clashes.  But as we rise above that, remembering that we have more in common than what we disagree on, we enjoy the benefits of love, laughter, and a piñata full of candy on a beautiful summer day.  We were created to need each other and to need God.  As humankind remembers that it is part of a bigger story and shared experience, we can take part more fully in the love that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit intended for us all along. Now if we can only find a world-size piñata…

~by Nan Kuhlman

4 comments so far

  1. Jerome Ellard on

    “As humankind remembers that it is part of a bigger story and shared experience, we can take part more fully in the love that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit intended for us all along.” That statement stuck out to me. I have a desire to let my (now grown) kids know they are part of a bigger story by continuing to connect them to people, places and stories from our family. I hope that is part of helping them see they are part of a Story that God is telling…

    • Nan Kuhlman on

      Jerome,

      I agree that by seeing our connection to extended family, we start to realize our connection to the human family and our respective roles in the “God-movie” that the Father, Son, and Spirit have been creating over eternity. I also think it breeds compassion for others, which is in short supply in our world today. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

      Nan

  2. Steve on

    Very interesting and a nice read. Thank you for sharing! Funny, our family gets together every year as well at the same place and time.

    Steve Cogley

    • Nan Kuhlman on

      Steve,
      Thanks for your comment. Maybe the “annual meeting” habit is in the blood!

      Nan


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