By Tom Ehrich

When our father died 16 months ago, my sister, brother and I decided we would have a "siblings reunion" at least once a year.

We are just finishing our first of those reunions: four days in Seattle at my brother's home. We have taken walks, talked a lot, gotten caught up, looked ahead, shared family news, eaten well, seen a movie, and enjoyed Seattle's devotion to good coffee.

I return to New York City today with four lessons in mind:

First, family matters. At every stage in life. Parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters, spouses and partners, children, grandchildren, and that wild assortment of aunts, uncles and cousins who materialize at weddings and funerals. They all matter.

Second, work matters, and talking about our work is part of saying who we are. I have kept up with my publishing and writing this week. My words have context -- life as it is -- and my context has meaning. What I have to say in Fresh Day, our new digital magazine, is shaped by long walks in Seattle's rainy chill with people whom I love.

Third, faith matters. Seattle seems determinedly secular, and given how churches behave, I understand why. This is a long way from the Bible Belt. But faith is far more than church. I see that more clearly every day.

Fourth, I matter. In the anonymous world of big city and web-centered work, it is easy to forget that I matter to some dear people, and have mattered to them for many years, and won't stop mattering just because life sends us to far corners.

I am not a dollar sign to them, a curiosity, a name on a list. I am a beloved person whose thoughts are worth discerning, words worth hearing, wounds worth healing, and dreams worth celebrating.