More Family Connections

By Mark Hopper

Two months ago, my wife and I traveled to New York to see Niagra Falls in western New York and visit some of her cousins near Albany on the eastern side of the state.  My wife really enjoyed reconnecting with her cousins. She had not seen some of them in over 40 years.

Over the past few years, we have also reconnected with some of my cousins who live in this part of the country. One lives in Colorado and the other lives in Arizona.  Both of these sisters have been married and have raised their own families.

Since they grew up in Colorado and my brother and I grew up in Arizona, we rarely saw our cousins. Since each of us got married and started our families in different parts of the country, we didn’t spend much time together. I don’t think we even attended our cousin’s weddings and I don’t think they were present at my wedding or my brother’s either.

Now, forty years later, our paths have reconnected. All of our parents have died. All of us have our own children and grandchildren. All of us still live in different parts of the country.  But, over the past few years, circumstances have drawn us together again.

A life threatening illness served as the catalyst to increase our communication.  My wife and I became more intentional about calling and visiting. My brother and his wife sent cards and shared books as the health of one of these cousins declined. During this journey, we also reconnected with her sister, our other cousin. After almost 40 years, we were talking and texting on a regular basis. Facebook helped too!

There was a lot of catching up to do. We enjoyed learning about their children and grandchildren.  We shared about our families and our careers. There were times of laughter and smiles as we talked about our parents and grandmother (our grandfather died before most of us were born).

Unfortunately, one of these cousins died on Thanksgiving Day after a long, difficult battle with cancer. New connections were made as we met extended family members at her memorial service. Stories were shared and there was both laughter and tears.

I’m thankful that we “reconnected” with our cousins – both my wife’s in New York and and my own cousins in the west. It has given us a new appreciation for our extended family and it has given us more motivation to keep in touch.

Let me encourage you to make an effort to reconnect with your family. Social media makes it possible and convenient to communicate with cousins, nieces, nephews and long, lost relatives.  Don’t wait. Write a note, send a card or make a call during this Christmas season. They will be glad you did and you will too.

Pastor Mark Hopper

Efree Church of Diamond Bar

3255 South Diamond Bar Blvd


Christmas Eve Services Dec 24th

9:00 & 10:45 AM & 5:00 PM


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