Summer is often the time when reunions take place, especially family reunions. And school class reunions often follow. The holiday season brings more such occasions, all of which can be the most pleasant of times.
But these can also be times that stir sad memories, old grievances, and rivalries. Reunions seem to revolve around personalities-and comparisons of how people are doing in their private and public lives. And have you ever noticed how reunions generally include the observation that "we're all getting older"? Also, people are apt to talk about their enviable experiences, travels, promotions, and financial successes, while deeper, more spiritual gains may be harder to recognize and perhaps seem less interesting to others.
If you're attending a reunion, it will help to do something you might not have thought of-pray about the occasion ahead of time. That is, prepare for it in a mental and spiritual way. The coming together of people can be seen as a union of hearts, a union that is already established in God. In that sense, every reunion is a family reunion, with the children of one God in attendance.
Christ Jesus said, "Call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven" (Matthew 23:9). And the Christian Science textbook, elaborating on this idea, says, "With one Father, even God, the whole family of man would be brethren; and with one Mind and that God, or good, the brotherhood of man would consist of Love and Truth, and have unity of Principle and spiritual power which constitute divine Science" (Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, pp. 469-470).
This brotherhood (and sisterhood) can be the watchword at reunions. It recognizes that God created us spiritually, to reflect Him. We're actually neither young nor old, although we do express the vitality and freshness of youth and the richness and wisdom of maturity, all spiritual qualities. True success comes not from personal ambition but from the God-given talents we each have.
No reunion needs the expression of pride, pretense, vanity; such qualities are not of God and not of His children, who are made in His image. Whatever does not portray "the brotherhood of man" must be that picture of ourselves which is not true, an erroneous caricature of life as material and mortal. Effective prayer does not accept the view of ourselves or others as unsuccessful, unlovely, unhappy mortals.
This came to my mind recently when I was regretting something I'd said about a relative. When someone mentioned not liking her attitudes and actions, I thoughtlessly replied, "Oh, we all have problems with her!" That stuck in my throat all morning; what had I said? That I had a problem. Yes, the problem lay in how I thought of this person. I did some soul searching and was finally able to put the problem to one side and begin appreciating this relative for the definite, positive, lovely qualities I knew she had. In prayer, I refused to weigh her down by expecting the worst in my contacts with (or conversations involving) her. I realized that while I could never change her, it was within my power to change my thoughts about her-to recognize her nature as a daughter of God.
Not to my surprise, this relative seems to have changed remarkably! We have been having nothing but happy experiences. We are both happier and more secure in our friendship.
Similarly, you and I can go to reunions without fear or dread when we understand that our relationships with others are already established in our unity with God, with Love. Knowing that God is the Father and Mother of us all, we can confidently affirm in prayer that we can see only what is good about others, and be seen only in the light of what is good about us. Then, we'll find this is true. Paul wrote to the early followers of Christ Jesus, "Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things" (Philippians 4:8).
You can prepare for any gathering by praying to see others as God sees them, and maintain this prayer throughout the event and even after it. Each reunion can be a union of hearts in our Father's house.