Hearts Filled with Gratitude: A Family Reunion

Family Reunion by Lidia Kenig Scher© 2014
Family Reunion by Lidia Kenig Scher© 2014

This past holiday twenty one people ranging from 18 to 94 years old and hailing from many parts of the US and from Argentina gathered in my home for a family reunion. Some had never met and others had not seen each other in 45 years. I am happy to report that it was a joyous event that many of us will fondly remember. We learned that roots run deep and that heartfelt love is as sweet and palpable as chocolate frosting. Today, my home is glistening with it. It all started with my nuclear family.

My sisters and I and our families get together annually. After 44 years of gathering during the winter and enduring snow storms, frigid weather and strictly indoor events, with the occasional chattering teeth outdoors venture, we decided to meet over a milder season and Memorial Day weekend, the official start of the summer season in the US was chosen. During a casual telephone conversation, my sisters and I thought to invite some fairly local cousins whom we had not seen often, somehow the news spread to Argentina, our native country and with a focus on our great grandfather’s branch of the family, a Facebook page was created by one of the descendants, commitments to attend the Boston family event were made and my home became the center of the reunion.

The 3-day event was simply spectacular and when I started this painting, in a quest to understand the import of seeing people I had not seen for so long, I did not expect the rush of emotion, the feelings of deep love, the outpouring of good will, and the sense that I recovered the link to a chain I did not know was broken. Moreover, the desire to celebrate and the feelings I felt were also evident as the group assembled. In the 12” x 12” mixed media acrylic painting on a ¾” deep canvas panel I intended to portray my artistic vision of it all.

The painting represents the three sisters, their families and the joy and gratitude we felt for the gifts of the heart we all shared. The bright palette of yellows, blues, reds, whites and gold bespeaks of passion; the one we found in hearing of each other’s path in life. The blues and yellows celebrate the clear skies and the sunshine that unexpectedly broke out on the second day and caused us to spread our joy outdoors for all to partake. The gold lines surrounding the hearts, the ones wrapping the small circles and those seen as threads spreading throughout imply the richness we all experienced. The three flowers in the upper right symbolize the three sisters, and the three bunches of accordion paper around them, convey the multifaceted nature of each of our nuclear families; while the red hearts, the blue little circles and the wisps of flying pigment depict the rich tapestry of joy brought in by the visitors. The artwork wants to show that in this group, the love and the roots run deep, as my dear brother-in-law Tim wrote, and that the chain was never really broken; each of us is a wholesome and bright link.

On this first family reunion, we all left behind our elders’ unsuccessful interactions along with their individual pain and sorrows. We deemed these to be part of our fabric and focused on our new relationships. We looked to the past to remember with kindness those who passed on and found reasons to feast and occasions to toast both the old and the new. Indeed we had a simply spectacular 3-day event celebrating each other, and when we celebrate, the whole of existence participates. Osho writes that “only in celebrations do we meet the ultimate, the eternal. Only in celebration do we go beyond the circle of birth and death.” We did and vowed to do it again next year. My heart is filled with gratitude.

May you find this week many reasons to celebrate, fill your home with the glistening of love’s frosting and share the occasions and feelings with us; and if you like to purchase the original painting, please click on the New Works Gallery.

In closing, I include this wonderful Irish blessing sang by the amazing Snatam Kaur. It could have been the music for the weekend.  May the Long Time Sun Shine Upon you!


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