This Beautiful Tapestry: Roots, Stories, and Family

I wrote a poem several years ago—not one of my better ones—that began: I am the oldest daughter of the oldest son of the oldest daughter of the venerable Reynolds family of Pulaski, Virginia.

Writing those words, remembering where I come from grounded me, stretching roots down down deep into the years.

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I traveled to the East Coast this past week to spend time with family, especially my maternal aunt who was visiting from way down South. I traveled to continue to nurture these roots.

We reconnected earlier this spring with our aunt after almost three decades. The whys and wherefores of this long separation are complicated and still not quite fully explored. But in a word, the two simple reasons were— lives caught up in the daily task of living and a heart rending half-century old grief that still has the power to bring all of us to our knees. My aunt lost her beloved sister, we lost our mother, and my father lost the love of his life.

The family is committed to strengthening these renewed ties that bind. The tears and the laughter flowed freely this week. And that was such a good thing. Healing.

Maybe it’s age, maybe it’s the sense that the world as we know it is ending, or maybe it’s just that it’s the right time—kairos time, sacred time, a time outside of time—but memories, family legends, and brand new tales rose up, swirled around and through us on road trips, over dinner, in living rooms, in restaurants and coffeeshops like incantations, praise songs, and lamentations.

A Most Beautiful Tapestry

If I were to create an image of this week, of our stories, of our voices it would be a tapestry woven with threads of varying thickness of colors bright glittering and shimmering of colors tinted dark with shadow death sorrow —and regret, perhaps the darkest thread of all— this thread that holds hindsight and the heartache of insight.

A most beautiful tapestry.

It is most beautiful because it is a tapestry of many lives intertwined juxtaposed with one another enhancing one another delighting in and loving each the other stretching back through the ages and far into the future.

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Because it is a tapestry that does not hide shame pain betrayal loss words that knife the heart. Because it is a tapestry that shows the healing power of Story.

Our family stories were told against the backdrop of the painful relentless chronicles of Kavanaugh and Blasey Ford. This larger narrative is now part of ourstory. This extraordinary week is now part of the tapestry— Threads frayed at the edges slowly, joyfully being repaired— Threads slowly coming undone, making room for something else— for a Great Healing the world desperately needs.

A week like this one, when tales are finally told and voices finally heard, will resonate through the years to come. For me. For my children and grandchildren. For all of us.

Don’t ever doubt that there is Ancient Magic in the stories we share of what is unbearable and of roots that go down deep deep deep.