Seventy and Counting

About this time every year, I write about the annual reunion where I say “Goodbye” to the old year and “Hello” to the new one.  Kinda predictable you might say. In a way it is.

But there is always something new about it. This time we celebrated our 70th year—a milestone any way you look at it. Our forebears who started it all are now all gone, two generations of them, but the tradition continues.

One other thing that never happened before was that it rained non-stop. All the outdoor activities had to be cancelled and the kids were most disappointed over the water polo that never was.

It was unbelievably cold, which rarely (or never) happens in Metro Manila. We were kept warm, however, by the grace of relationship that we try to nurture through distance and time.

In numbers, one fourth is gone and a big chunk is abroad. Of the 140 who were able to make it, 20% are seniors, the third generation to which I belong. Whether this gathering can still be stretched for more years is no longer in our hands but in the younger generations’ (4th, 5th, and 6th).

(photo by Danny Digan)
There are other families/clans around the world who have been doing reunions far longer than we have, but ours is probably the only clan that has been doing it for three days and two nights in a row, without miss, seven decades now! 

What makes this gathering so successful every time and an occasion to look forward to every year?

You name it, we have it:  games, competitive sports; a band; a talent show with spectacular, professional performances; a lionized celebrity (nephew); awards and prizes; a council meeting where issues and finances are discussed; well-planned meals; a three-day program that includes toddlers and dodderers; an instant rendition of the Lutkin Benediction in four voices; and most of all, a solemn thanksgiving and memorial service, where we honor God and thank Him for the lives of all clan members (past and present). 

During our service, themed “Light and Darkness,” our young pastor (a nephew) emphasized letting one’s light shine. “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord.” Ephesians 5:8-10 (NKJV)   

May the younger generations, then, who come after us always remember: Reunions aren’t only about shining within the family; it is about being light in the Lord and walking as children of light for others.       

First day gear
Second day garb (photo by Darlene Digan)

1 comment:

Yay Padua-Olmedo said...

Hahaha! You're really the only family doing reunions one to sawa. I'm a fan, because we don't even have the passion with which you do yours.