We were invited to visit a large homeschooling family in the area, and I went with the understanding that I’d never be able to remember anyone’s name, and besides, since we were both such busy families, we’d probably never see each other again.
Turns out that as I chatted with the mom, I realized a significant fact: Familiarity encourages understanding and burns deep into long-term memory. As we connected on core issues surrounding food, laundry, homeschooling issues, crash courses in adolescence and young adulthood 101, I realized that I would never forget this woman, much less her name.
Not only did we meet again within the month, but we have also met many times over the course of a few short weeks. Yet it seems like we have known each other forever. I did worry that her kids and my kids would not get along. But the same truth held firm. Kids with the same faith and similar values connect on a core level. Who would’ve guessed?
But it’s not that simple. Never really is.
I’ve watched over the years as numerous families got ripped apart despite common core values. Good Heaven, look at our own country. Lots of core values centered the cause for American Independence, but a mere 200+ years pass, and we’re ready to tear each other apart. During the Civil War, we practically did, over the bodies of thousands.
So what is the hope for our human family when we find it hard enough to find people with similar values, and then we don’t even know if we will simply grow apart in time?
The circle. Yep. The mystery of the circle gives me hope. I’ve had family members who I lost touch with for years, only to reconnect on more solid footing later in life. I’ve known friends from childhood who moved away … as I did … and we didn’t talk again until a chance encounter brought us back into each other’s lives. Sometimes that chance encounter was based on nothing more than flipping through an old phone book and dialing a number on a whim.
I fear that many young people believe that what is gone today will be lost forever. But that’s not always the case. Sometimes on this human journey, we do lose people. Death comes and takes bodies and souls from our playing field. But many times, a current absence hints at a future we can’t yet see. That’s true for those who have died. What is on the other of the Great Divide — only God knows. But there is another side.
So one of my many resolutions for 2019 is to be open to new relationships. Perhaps things won’t work out. But if there is even a moment of understanding and human connection, it is worth the effort. God knows that in the end, we may meet on the other side and reconnect — better than ever.
Copyright 2019 Ann K. Frailey