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Tuesday, 17 January 2017
First of all, I was drawn to its meaning. Kin is a word that means close relatives, people we are bound to by our family heritage. The four-letter word "kind" is connected because we naturally tend to deal "kindly" with our "kin." One of my daughters asked me during our rather quiet Christmas break why we don't have many gatherings with extended family anymore. She wondered if by not connecting with these kin we were missing out on something good that we were meant to have: closer ties, family stories, a better sense of connectedness.
Something else that drew me to the word "kin" is that it is a beautiful English word. What I mean by English is that it comes from the Germanic branch of languages. These words are quite plain and ordinary; they may be short and sound a bit harsh with their combination of letters. Besides "kin", some other original English words are "cow-like," "bed," "knife," "hat," and "good."
Why would I call it beautiful? Perhaps most people would not. In fact, there is a Facebook picture I saw in the past month which named "100 Beautiful English words," but every one of them was a more recent addition to English as a loanword from French or Latin. For the words I listed above, the so-called beautiful versions would be "bovine," "chamber," "stiletto," "fedora," and "excellent." A beautiful word for me is not so much how poetic it sounds but what it communicates. For me "kin" makes me think of the beautiful reality that we are born into close relationships in which we are to show kindness.
How I hope this word will give shape to my experience of 2017 is that I will be more intentional about forging ties with and appreciating my kin, also for the sake of my children. I want to plan more visits with them and enjoy their company. Next month, Lord willing, my son and my mother will travel to Europe to be with kin. Through their visit, I hope to also feel renewed in my connection to aunts, uncles and cousins living so far away. Other kin live nearby, but the busyness of life often conspires against getting together with them. I want to make greater effort to resist those excuses.
Over this calendar year I hope to share some stories about my kinfolk and what makes cultivating these ties so valuable for my family and me.
Tuesday, 3 January 2017
One year ago I chose the word "Jubilee" to give shape to my experiences for 2016. I wanted to be more conscious of issues related to justice and to celebrate things worthy of jubilation. Looking back on 2016, the following items connect to the theme of Jubilee:
- In 2016 I celebrated with three loved ones as they graduated from one level of schooling to another. Two earned their high school diplomas, and one her Grade 8 diploma.
- Jubilee was experienced through music. In 2016 I had the opportunity to experience the 40th anniversary concert for the Ontario Christian Highschool Choir Festival in the spring and a rousing orchestral and choral rendition of Handel's Messiah just before Christmas.
- Musical theatre was also a cause for jubilation. Each of the five live plays I was privileged to experience combined story telling with song: The Pirates of Penzance; The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe; Our Town; Charles Dickens Writes A Christmas Carol; and Christmas in Reverse.
- I learned more about global justice initiatives through reading The Locust Effect by Gary Hausen and Clay Water Brick by Jessica Jackley. My husband and I were able to support new charities that are focused on bringing justice to the marginalized.
- The schools I am affiliated with began celebrating milestones in 2016: the high school marked 40 years of God's faithfulness and the elementary school is commemorating 50 years, a true jubilee.
- My father had successful surgery to improve his mobility and reduce back and neck pain. My mother had a cataract removed and can see more clearly. The support both my parents received from the medical community and their church family has also been cause for jubilee.