Family Folklore

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Our family recently had quite a week.  Our dishwasher leaked, but not in an obvious way.  We didn’t discover the problem until the carpet behind the kitchen wall became soaked and the hard woods in front of the dishwasher began to seep water when we stepped on them.  On Wednesday, the plumber arrived, cut off the water to the dishwasher, said we would need a new dishwasher, and because the damage could lead to mold problems, called the restoration company for us.  By the end of the day, five industrial blowers that would dry out the damaged floors were running – loudly – for twenty-four hours a day for the next four-and-a-half days. 

The day after our dishwasher leak, we found out Alex had been exposed to Covid.  I picked him up from school, and he and I got tested.  He was positive, even though he had no symptoms.  I had to get the rest of the kids from school, Ben came home from work, and we began our quarantine with the noise of the blowers, just in time for Jed’s fifteenth birthday.  We isolated Alex in the TV room upstairs, and while watching television and playing video games is fun for a few days, it can become a grind even for an eight-year-old boy.  He went outside for a little while one day, and when he went back upstairs, he texted me, “I’m back in the cage.” 

A couple of days into quarantine, Jed broke a window with his basketball.  Thankfully, it was double paned, so the ball did not break the window entirely and no one was hurt.  But when Jed said, “the hits just keep coming,” I shushed him immediately not wanting to jinx us with anything further.  

Thankfully, none of us experienced Covid symptoms, and we knew it could all be much worse, but some of us (me) don’t do so well mentally and emotionally when change knocks us out of our routine.  Because of all the chaos, we will talk about this week as a family for a long time.  I kept thinking, this will become part of our family folklore.  The term folklore probably only came to my mind because Taylor Swift titled her popular 2020 album “Folklore.”  So, I felt compelled to look up the actual meaning of folklore, which is defined as, “the traditional beliefs, customs, and stories of a community, passed through the generations by word of mouth.”  (lexico.com). 

We will definitely pass down the tale of this crazy week to the next generation.  We will talk about how we reacted with tears, frustration, and laughter.  We will feel pride in how we endured this week and the entire pandemic with resilience and grit.  I wonder what details or conversations we will exaggerate as we retell this story years from now.  I also think about the unknowns.  For example, I don’t yet know the grandchildren who will hear these stories.  But for now, we connect over the funny and the not so funny.  We gain perspective by looking back and feel hope as we look to the future.  The fabric of the family is built, at least partly, on the experiences we share and reliving those stories again and again.  

The Bible is full of stories that people passed down from one generation to the next.  And Jesus told stories to those who gathered to listen to him.  In the Bible, Luke investigated the stories from the beginning, including those handed down from those who knew Jesus, in order to give his account of Jesus’ life.  (Luke1:1-4).  Before recounting one of Jesus’ stories, Luke wrote, “Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.”  (Luke 18:1).  Jesus was building the fabric of his family of followers, encouraging them to stick together and stay true to him even when their lives became difficult.  When Jesus’ time on earth was complete, his people told others what they’d heard him say, how they saw him act, and how he made them feel. 

We can model our efforts to create folklore on the way Jesus gathered people together and told them stories.  He knit together a community who would carry on his love and legacy.  We can build strong ties among our families and communities by sharing stories that demonstrate how much we love one another.  With God’s help, we will form our family’s folklore and establish bonds that last a lifetime and beyond.               

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