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I lost an aunt this past May. She was my mother’s only sister. That leaves me with only one other living relative in my parent’s generation. This prompted Wanda and I to take a trip at the beginning of August to Indiana, where one of my cousins and his family live. My aunt was his mother.


I was born in South Bend, Indiana, and lived in that state until I was five years old. My mother’s extended family lived there in Indiana, and we often made trips on the holidays and each summer to visit.


While visiting my cousin, we talked about our childhood and the twists and turns life has taken over the years. We visited homes that were no longer there, graves of loved ones long gone, and we shared many memories and stories.


I got to thinking about the old hymn, “Blessed Be the Tie That Binds”

Blessed be the tie that binds,

Our hearts in Christian love;

The fellowship of kindred minds

Is like to that above.  (UMH #557)


The very same tune is also used with another hymn that is popular in Methodist circles. The first stanza is:

And are we yet alive,

and see each other’s face?

Glory and thanks to Jesus give

For his almighty grace. (UMH #553)


I was grateful for the time to reconnect with my cousin and to share memories of those who we knew and loved. Life didn’t turn out the way we would have imagined when we were young children. There is hurt we carry and longing for some things that never came to be, but there are many times when we were enriched by others in wonderful ways we could never have imagined. I have been blessed, and I intend to leave a blessing for others. And that seems to be more than enough.

Grace and peace,

Rev. Steve Larsen