Family reunions offer lessons in reconciliation

Guest writer

I am sitting in the lounge of a hotel in my home town in Scotland. It is 9:00 o’clock in the morning and many people have had their full Scottish breakfast and rushed off. There is no one else in the lounge and the barmaid has begun to clean up the bar in readiness for those who will be coming in later for lunch.

In my arms is my nine-month old granddaughter. She is being approached by different members of the staff who are getting ready for the rest of the day’s activities. She smiles at each one who comes over to speak to her. She is lovely. She loves to play with my watch, and I take it off and hand it to her. She holds it in her hand for a bit then it reaches her mouth. After a little while she lays her head down on my arm and holds the watch close to her as if she is cuddling.

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The staff continue to pass by sweeping, mopping, dusting. They smile at her but no longer speak as they do not want to disturb us. I softly sing a lullaby to her and she sings along in her own way. In this moment there is a profound gentleness that slows down time, almost to a stop. We are together and for this moment everything around us seems to move in slow motion.

I am on this trip for a variety of reasons. I am here with my wife, my daughter and our granddaughter to visit my father who is 94 years of age. We are hoping to see some friends and also travel to the Corrymeela Community in Ireland. It is a community of reconciliation. It has already been a journey in time and space. A pilgrimage of sorts. A journey to bring together the oldest in our family and the youngest. To grow as a family and care for and love one another. The youngest has already stolen the heart of the oldest. There is that wonderful moment when a connection across time and space is made. In the moment of the first meeting it is as if they have known each other forever, the old and the young smile and touch, and time and eternity stand still.

Sometimes we think of reconciliation as being between two divided parties. Most of the time it is. However, reconciliation can mirror our connection with God; a moment when love is recognized and hope is seen between two generations–a connection that had not been there before. Time slows and we are content in the moment. There is a deep and profound peace. In that moment of touch and recognition, the divine is present.

As I continue to sit in the lounge my granddaughter goes to sleep. She drops the watch which I catch before it hits the ground. She turns on to her side, cuddles into me and rests. I wonder if she will remember this moment lying in my arms comfortable, peaceful and content. The time continues to slowly slip by as the staff continue working.  I think at the end of the day even if she does not remember this moment, I will. In this moment of contact, in this moment of love, trust, and peace I have experienced reconciliation in myself and I have been touched by the divine.

Family reunions offer lessons in reconciliationThe Right Reverend Logan McMenamie is the Anglican Bishop of the Diocese of British Columbia

You can read more articles on our interfaith blog, Spiritually Speaking, HERE

* This article was published in thr print edition of the Times Colonist on Saturday, Feb 23 2018

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