Contemplating My Spiritual Obligations and
How I Effect My Immediate World

Since becoming a grandmother, my role in life has changed and since I am the eldest grandchild in my father's family and since my grandparents and my father and mother have all passed on I can't help but notice that I may be the next in line to go. Does this "position" in life, "next to go" have any special meaning?

I am not sure that anyone sees me as in any special role today, but my new position as a matriarch of sorts has caused me to reflect "newly" on my family, family in general, relationships and upon friendships.

In my daily role as a teacher of teenagers in the education system I see so many children whose lives have been ruined by drug and alcohol dependent parents, absent parents and divorce and I and my children have been through divorce so I know what some of the above is about.

With all this talk of family values in the news and when I look at the condition of society I have come to wonder... what is happening? It seems as if the meaning of real love and what we are willing to do for others has gone out the window. Our society is really in trouble. Why?

We all have a significant relationships to our families: we are mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, daughters and sons, aunts, uncles, grandmothers, grandfathers and we are mentors and friends to some not of our blood line family, but to whom we have in many cases a strong bond reflecting one of the above family ties. Beyond the family and friendship ties we have, it is said that we effect through our daily lives a circle of about 500 people in our respective worlds. What can we do to be more effective as spiritual beings in the world? I think being a good family member is one of the first, if not the first way to be effective.

At some point in our lives each of us fills one or all of the above family roles. In some cases we are estranged from those we love and this can be a hardship, but even so the family or friendship tie remains.

I often wonder how significant my actions and consciousness are in relationship to both my family and my friends. What is my role in terms of my immediate circle? How do my acts in the immediate circle effect the greater whole? What role does my spirituality play and how does it play in my immediate world? What are my obligations to my family and my community and how do I order them in my life? Am I a good mother, sister, cousin, niece, friend and so on?

When I look at my immediate circle, my family, I often reflect on the relationships between Mary and Joseph and their children and their greater family. These relationships are not addressed fully in the Bible, but it we may imagine with full confidence I believe that both mother and father together raised Jesus. Where would he have been without them?

What kind of relationships did Jesus and Mary have with their children and their greater family? How did they as a family function? How important is family?

The following is some of the things that I have been thinking about.