Family Alter

            “This family meeting was called for a reason,” said my aunt Mari, ” everyone please take a seat, and quiet down the kids, please”
My aunt never spoke English, not that she could anyways, and I hardly speak Spanish but still I can hear the authority in her words when she spoke to all of my family. Already I was sitting quietly with my cousin Alina, watching as my mom, her two sisters and her older brother followed the orders of their older sister.
My cousin quiet down her younger brother and sister and my aunt started speaking again.
“Now there are some things that we need to clear up in this family, because there are too many rumors and ‘he says, she says’ getting in the way of our relationship-”
“Yes, and now that you’re here we can speak about those rumors” My aunt Luz interrupted. “because I want to get it out there that I didn’t say or do anything to hurt you or your daughter, you know I really loved your daughter and with any situation involving my son, your daughter, and anyone else, I never got involved.-“
“Okay, I’m going to get to that in second.”
“ah, okay, I was just saying.”
“- So as a family we’re supposed to be united. That means we can’t be one over here and one over there to then get together only when there’s drinking involved. Some people do not drink and we need to find time to find each other.”
I agreed with everything she said. Honestly, I had noticed that as well, my mothers’ side of the family likes to drink a lot. I always thought it was a mixture of their hurtful childhood and their stressful adulthood that leads them to their first few drinks, and after a while it just becomes like a sinful habit.
Unfortunately my mom is the youngest of her siblings, and her childhood was probably the worst, little by little I get stories out of her, about her past and so far what I know is that my grandmother had fourteen children and out of those fourteen children she had only abandoned my mother. Even though Mari and her oldest sister, Angelica, took her in, my mother couldn’t help herself but to feel abandoned. Which affects a lot of things in her life still to this day, as an adult, in her social life, in relationships, and even as a mother.
“Me being the way I am, which is a real family person, I have never liked it, and still do not like it, when the family is separated.” Mari said. She spoke with wisdom, my aunt, or so I thought at that moment. I could not have said that any better. And I was actually not expecting to hear something like that come out of my aunt’s mouth.
This aunt, I never really knew. In fact she didn’t even recognize me when my mother and I walked into the small apartment. We were coming from Sunday church service and she asked who was I and my mother had to tell her who my father was for her to remember.
I wasn’t surprised; I’m already used to the family being “separated”, as she said. Most of my aunts, uncles, and cousins, I hardly know. Like many families, we meet up during thanksgiving, Christmas or New Years, and ask many questions about each other’s life, catch up, get some family members addresses and phone numbers, drink, dance and party, and then do the same again next year.
But this aunt I don’t remember meeting, she spoke like if she was the oldest, but she was the middle child, and as soon as I met her though, I smiled, I was amazed at how much she looked like my mother, I mean they are sisters, but the similarities were unexpected. Her eyes, her skin, and her smile even her laughter reminded me of my mother.
“It really hurt me when my daughter was in her dying bed and she wouldn’t forgive her cousins for what they said about her. And I would tell her please, just call them and talk about it but she was so stubborn, angry and hurt that she was holding on to it still in her death bed.” At that point of the conversation I had no idea what she was talking about. I’m a part of the separated. So I had no idea we had family drama in my family. But I was quickly learning that we did, and not everyone was involved but everyone was affected.
“I was praying for my daughter and thank God, she got to speak to them before she died. And things were resolved with them after a while, but there’s still tension in the family and other rumors that need to be addressed.”
For the next half hour, they spoke and apologized to each other about the past and the present. She asked if anyone else had something to bring up, and my uncle, the only male in the room, hadn’t said anything at all, except “yeah, I agree.” They said he’s such a guy; he never has anything to say. They laughed and ate and were a very united family for the rest of the evening. My mother and all her sisters left together and then got on the bus together, something I never witnessed before. I started to see change already.
But my mind was stuck and enlightened as soon as she mentioned God. I began to realize why I was so amazed by my family having this meeting, why my aunt seemed to speak with such wisdom and authority. And why it really touched my heart to over here this conversation. I technically just met my aunt Mari, but the more she said the more I loved her. She opened up her heart to her family. She praised and thanked God for her family, and when the meeting was over we hung out for a little, then before we left she asked that we get in a circle and pray.
.. And pray.
Three of my aunts were God fearing women, and my mother and my aunt Luz, I believe, are starting to come around the corner, because their actually accepting to come to church with us on Sundays and not arguing when we want to read the Bible together  unlike other times.
I thought about how many times my sisters and I would go to church services that would talk about families being unbreakable, and how the family needs to create a family altar, praying and worshiping together, to stand strong in faith and in our relationship. We prayed for our family a lot, mostly our immediate family though. And God made a promise to us that he was going to save my mother.
            Now I feel like we had put limits on God a bit because we weren’t thinking about our entire family when we prayed. But in the bible I remember reading if someone in the family is called, then the entire family is called. And I was stunned and amazed at the fact that I was witnessing God’s promise being fulfilled. We had our first family alter in that living room on that Sunday morning after church. And I’m pretty sure there’s many more to come.