Thursday, February 20, 2014

Intimate Strangers

These are the people who complete me and explain me in many ways. 
They are intimate strangers . . . I know them by the whispers of 
heredity . . . quirks of instinct, rumors of shared wounds. There is, 
at the roots, a deep-down entanglement. There is a shared  cache of 
private folklore that shapes us.  -- Mark Buchanan, The Rest of God

I thought about this quote last weekend as I sat in the midst of intimate strangers. 
Second cousins that I faintly knew existed but had never met. We come from a
 large family: our grandparents were six brothers and two sisters. Our parents, first cousins, 
were all close growing up. But then they scattered to all parts of the world. 
We gathered to celebrate the life of an aunt, and for me a first-cousin-in-law-once-removed 
who was like an aunt to me.  It was fascinating seeing family resemblances,
 and those little "quirks of instinct." What felt even stranger was their sharing 
in the same old stories that I love. 
Our parents well instilled in us a deep love for our heritage. 
Ours is a strong story that has impacted our lives.  
Will it be the same for our children, is a question.
 At the service we sang the Hallelujah Chorus. 
Anyone who had ever sung it in the past came up to be the choir. 
It was a joyous moment in time I won't forget.


  1. What a wonderful experience!!!!
    : ) Kris

  2. Once again, Dotsie, I'm struck by the parallels in our lives. I have 53 first cousins on my mother's side. Our family, with four children, was the smallest, and Mum had 12 brothers and sisters. Recently, through my blog, I connected with a third cousin - it was a lovely moment, as she comes from Dad's side, where there are few cousins. I'm sure that your cousin/aunt's service was a true celebration of life!

  3. I'm a teensy bit jealous. Love this!

  4. This post brought a smile to my face...I have been diligently working on my family genealogy...some of the lesser known relatives really are intimate strangers.

  5. I got chills reading this!
    What a great reunion and send off.

  6. I envy the closeness of your family Dotsie and it's nice that you could connect with a member through your blog.

  7. Such a wonderful and special time!

  8. What a wonderful tribute. Singing the Hallelujah Chorus must have been touching.

  9. A rich heritage indeed. I have 56 first cousins and the last time my maternal side gathered was for my grandmother's funeral 5 or 6 years ago. What a blessing to connect with them.
    A lovely service, full of mingled joy and grief.

  10. It sounds as if you had a wonderful family experience. Your aunt would have so loved it!

  11. What a beautiful story. I love the idea of "intimate strangers."
    Yours is a wonderful story of a heritage of faith.

  12. That quote just gave me goosebumps. What a blessing to experience the very essence of it. Wow. I believe that appreciation of your heritage has been passed on... could seem dormant... but it is there. blessings ~ tanna

  13. What a lovely celebration of life.

    How fun that you could see family quirks in the intimate strangers.

  14. What a beautiful post! Dotsie, it is such a blessing to come from a family like yours! I bet when you get to heaven, you will have even more gatherings singing the Hallelujah Chorus! This make me cry!

  15. Podso,
    Heart moving story, dear friend!
    So~o~o very many of my family are now gone. As time allows in our retirment, I'm wanting to visit the "younger" generation of my siblings and embrace them with shared stories of our past.


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