This year, for the first time, my husband and I are observing a holiday meal as guests at the table of a member of the next generation. That’s right, the torch has been passed. My nephew (who I swear was a gap-toothed little kid the last time I looked), his wife, and their stalwart sousaphone-playing son invited us to their table.
What’s more, nephew Andy surprised me down to my toes by saying they were eager to sit me down and pick my brain about family history! I’m delighted to tell what I know, but I’m certainly not old enough to be the family historian. That’s a job for . . . oh, yeah. I guess from his perspective, I am the older generation.
There are new chapters opening all around us, all the time.
Yes, the family history book is clearly opening a new chapter, which is something to be thankful for. (Time for a thankoffering!) And then I thought some more about it.
There are new chapters opening all around us, all the time. Sometimes we know that they’re coming and when they’re coming, and we can plan ahead for them. For example, we stash a little away for birthday presents or for next year’s vacation. Parents save up for their kids’ educations, and so on.
But then there are those things we know are coming eventually (like becoming the older generation) but we don’t know when. We all need to plan for those new chapters, too–which will open, whether we’re ready or not.
How do we get ready for chapters that will open sometime but we don’t know when? For one thing, I’ll get in touch with some cousins to ask for more family history details to pass on.
And I’m going to think some more about updating all those essential plans and papers that no one likes to think about. It’ll be a kindness to the younger generation–which is the least I can do after that fabulous feast.
How will you prepare for a new chapter?
Audrey Riley is director for stewardship and development for Women of the ELCA.