The Ryan Family Reunion 2014 is a memory. All my siblings and most of their spouses came, and a little over fifty in total gathered together to reconnect and have some fun.
One of my favorite memories was the family dinner at a local restaurant. We had a private dining room, complete with a coat closet that the ‘littles’ could run in and out of when they got bored. Long rectangular tables loaded with food were surrounded by chatty people. Smiles exploded into laughter amid the joy of being together. One memory would fall into another as events from long ago were shared with new eager ears.
After the main course, two of my brothers got up and called for attention. It was time to play “Ryan Family Trivia.” Questions submitted were read to the group. “Who totaled Dad’s car?” “Who got caught sneaking in a second story window after curfew?” My brothers and sisters knew the answers, but outside of that, it was a learning experience for our children and grandchildren. They learned a lot about their parents, aunts and uncles (and there might be a little explaining to do later!).
It reminded me of the way I learned about my spiritual family.
It was very similar to Ryan Family Trivia. I learned about Jesus and his Father from the stories and events told and retold by my parents, teachers and spiritual ancestors. Just like all my family albums, I have keepsakes to remind me of my Lord when I get a little shaky on my heritage. The bible, books about saints and the faith stories of my own family keep me connected to God, and to my spiritual family.
It never occurred to my nieces and nephews to doubt the stories from the old days. They’re hearing them from the people who experienced them. There’s no reason to think we’d make anything up. (Believe me, between the eight of us, there’s plenty of material to keep the younger ones amazed and amused for days.)
But that wasn’t the experience that our fathers in faith had when they spoke about the Lord. The crowds that heard St Peter’s stories about Christ had a hard time believing what he had to say. Losing patience, he said in 2 Peter:
We did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we had been eyewitnesses of his majesty.
He had to keep telling the teetering faithful that the events in the life of Jesus were not a bunch of made-up lies. Peter was there; he saw it all. That made him trustworthy.
As I sat in that restaurant dining room on an ordinary Friday night, I learned a lesson in faith. Although the younger generation wasn’t present for their parents shenanigans, they heard and believed the stories. In my spiritually dark days, may this memory spark a little light, and lead me back to a shining faith in the trustworthy words of God.
Surrounded by the Spirit on Facebook