Thursday, April 03, 2014

"Faction Over Blood", April 3, 2014

"Faction over blood."
~Veronica Roth

Happy Birthday Nate! Today is the birthday of our son Nathan Shepard. Nathan, his wife Chenda and their three children moved earlier this year from the San Francisco Bay area and now live in the canyons of San Carlos, a community of San Diego. 

Nathan was born in San Diego but has spent most of his life in Northern California. He has worked for Wells Fargo Bank for 15 years, and enjoys playing hockey, visiting San Diego's New Children's Museum with the kids, tending to the family koi pond, and growing vegetables on the sunny deck outside his office (yes, really!).

Quite a Handful. The first picture, taken back in December, shows Nathan and Chenda, with their kids Preslea, William, and Logan. Standing behind them are Cindy and I. The second picture (below) was taken back in November and shows Nathan with their older son Logan. Happy Birthday to Nathan!

Happy Birthday Jim! Tomorrow is the birthday of my cousin Jimmie Gower, who has one of the easiest birthdays to remember: 4-4-44. Jim is the second son of the late Starlene and Hank Gower and with his wife Cheryl lives in Ft. Mohave, Arizona. A native of San Diego, Jim is the second grandchild of Leroy and Nola Shannon Gower.

Happy Birthday Ciara! Tomorrow is also the birthday of Ciara Ortiz, one of the GGgrandchildren of Will and Bura Shepard and the granddaughter of Kim Boyd Clark. Ciara lives with her family, including mom and dad Desiree and Jeremy Ortiz, in Blue Springs, Missouri. The picture below shows a chilly but smiling Ciara on a winter's day in Missouri.

Reflections on Family and Film. The quote at the top of this post -- "Faction over blood" -- is from the recently released film Divergent. In the film, and the novel from which it came, Veronica Roth shares a dark vision of the future where every person is placed in a particular "Faction", based upon an aptitude test. One's "Faction" is all important and determines the rest of one's life. 

The "Faction" is even more important than one's family. "Faction over blood" becomes a binding motto that guides a person's life. Is the author envisioning a time when family ties become irrelevant or even forbidden? In the future will the State finally conclude that the institution of family is so broken, that it can no longer be tolerated? In Roth's vision of things to come, it would seem so. 

Ironically, in the film the family relationships of the protagonist are the most human and compelling of all the relationships in her life. As a result, the motto "Faction above blood," has a hollow, unrealistic ring to it. I am reminded of that great dichotomy of family relationships: they can be the most maddening, painful and crazy relationships in all of life. Yet there is nothing else that can give us the same sense of humanness and fulfillment. And from all indications, even the darkest of imagined futures will never change that.
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Steve Shepard

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