Stories we need to know.
I was at a recent family gathering when I heard a story about my paternal grandmother that is still affecting me deeply. Unlike my other grandmother, Nanny Harris was not an ‘interesting’ character. She was deeply loved but had no need to stand out or to entertain. The story I heard was that she sometimes had to pawn her wedding ring to feed the family till the next pay check. She would never have told such a story. For her it was a source of deep shame, but her children see it as just another instance of her deep and passionate love. This story not only revealed the depth of her love, it also explained a few other family ‘quirks’ that had baffled me.
Most of the Bible consists of stories – especially of relationships. Stories are rarely straightforward – they allow for multiple meanings and differing interpretations. They also can move us into the deep places of the heart and can sometimes explain us to ourselves.
We recently celebrated Grandparents Day. With such a celebration, we recognise the where we have come from as people and the complexity of relationships into which we are born. With such a celebration, we can encourage our elders to tell their stories in our families. We might be surprised ourselves by what we hear. I know that forty years after her death, I’m still learning about my grandmother, and some of the things that make our family tick. I do know that the next time I’m in Sydney I’m having a long talk with my aunts and so enter into that stream of life and love that is family
Loving Father, you have given us life within a family. May we pass on the stories of our families to our children that they may grow that complex web of relationship which can nurture life and love. We ask this in Jesus’ name confident that you will hear us.
Sr Kym Harris osb