This is a bigger challenge for my bank of photos than one might expect. I saw photos of Paris, a city I do love, and photos of the Lady and Unicorn tapestries which are only about love, and photos of oceans and breezed and California, which I also love. And the beach at Venice Beach, which I’ve always loved and which photo graces my Facebook page.
In scrolling through, I saw a shot of my son’s graduation from college; shots of my grandson getting married; Cliff and me, laughing or getting married and my sons walking me down the aisle; almost all the shots of my huge family said “love” in one way or another.
Perhaps the right photo comes from a question: how did this big, outrageous family learn to love so openly and unconditionally through all the family disasters and trials that all families go through?
And then I arrived at the old black and white photo of my Grandfather and Grandmother Ellis. She, a Birthright Quaker from Jewell County, Kansas, from a long line of earnest Quaker families. Her grandmother, Lucinda, had been a pioneer into Kansas. A Quaker married inside the church. That’s the rule. But Grandmother Ellis didn’t.
Grandfather Ellis, or Grandpa Joe as we kids called him, was a railroad man. He’d come to Kansas from the hill country of Kentucky, the Blue Ridge Mountains, the youngest son of a family who’s many older men had been killed or disappeared into the Civil War. He came to Kansas. And charmed a young Quaker girl. And she left her church, but not her family, and married a handsome, dashing railroad man.
And maybe that’s how my family learned to love so widely, wildly, and well. And while not a Birthright Quaker, my mother was a Quaker down to her bones. Family and God. Whatever the trials (and our family had a few wild hairs along the way) you loved and accepted them.