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um-031511-emailThis past week I traveled to celebrate a rite of passage in a young cousin’s life. Family and friends gathered, stories were told, and questions were asked. Not just the polite, every day questions about what you do, where you’ve traveled, and how you are, but penetrating questions about family history, timelines, and memories.

As our time together stretched over several days, there seemed to be a lingering and unasked question, which had never been raised before. The question finally surfaced as the crowds of friends left, and just us cousins remained.

“What do you know that I don’t know?”

What triggered the question was the discovery of family from a marriage and divorce no one knew existed until we began to piece together the history of our extended family. The younger members of the family sat in rapt attention as the family they knew grew to include recently discovered cousins who were unknown for half a century.

This revelation begged the question, what else was hidden.

The chemistry of that question began to reveal a history different from the one we knew.

What became clear were the stories that get passed down about all of us depend on who’s telling the story, and the impact of our actions on their life.

The beauty in this particular gathering was curiosity trumped the need to defend. Enough time had passed that the “digging” had the feel of an archeological expedition to uncover the artifacts of a life, gently brushing each discovery with care so as not to let it crumble into feelings of separation when it hit the light of day.

The result was a deeper and more profound sense of connection. Our parents and grandparents lived their lives. It was their life to live after all. Any secrets, disagreements, or failures neither have to be hidden nor passed down, as reasons to detach, disconnect, or divide future generations.

Family history gives you an ever-widening context. Who you are. What happened. How you got here. The answers to those questions, the stories and lessons learned, bind a family together as strongly as strings of DNA.

As I traveled back home, I realized that I have new stories to pass down to my children. And embedded in all the stories will be that the truth will be told now or later, but nonetheless, it will be told.

So go ahead and ask the deeper questions. Ask with love, and be ready to listen.

And remember this week, and every week, to tell the truth with love. It will be easier to tell, and it will be easier to hear.


What questions are just under the surface in your conversations?


My love goes with you as you work with this Uplifting Moment.

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