Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Roots 2

I wrote before about the farm from which some of my great-great-greats hailed. That was the beginning of some way too much research into the subject. :) I called Gigi after that, to tell her how I could see it on the satellite map and everything. I wanted to confirm whether my great-grandma was born there or not (she and her parents came to America when she was about 10, in 1903 or so, and met with some other family and acquaintances who had already immigrated). Gigi said, no, not there, but they used to name the houses, and that Grandma Great used to talk about Plunton House as their home.

On a lark I typed in "Plunton House, Kirkcudbright, Scotland" into Google maps (pronounced "kur-KOO-bree"). Un. Be. Lievable. Yep; it's still there - or some house is, in the right area with the right name.

Think about that for a minute. How old is an OLD house in your area? My area was settled about 100 years ago or so, and there are still some houses standing from that time, because they're made from the rock pulled from the fields. :) How long has your family lived in the area where you are? Do they still live in the same house? Are your grandparents within a few miles from you?

In looking up  Grandma Great's parents' names, I found that her father was born in that same house. Do you know anyone who is raising their family in the very house in which they were born? HIS father was born at a house (of which google maps can nearly put me on the porch!) about 5 miles away from that (it also has a name. still.). These are all within 5-8 miles of the farm.

Something inside me is just amazed by all of that. How would it be to wake every morning to the walls that watched your mom or dad grow up? To walk the land walked by your grandparents when they were your age. I imagine a childhood instilled with belonging; with place, and purpose. Surely it might seem stifling at times, or constricting, but compared with today's typical lifestyle, it's incredible. Today we do what we want, we go here, go there, wrack up debt, change direction as often as the wind - that is not all bad, and certainly a cross-country separation still offers a lot more connection via technology than those ancestors even shared (possibly) from the next county over - but what an amazing difference. What would you do, how would you live, if you knew it was an important link in the generations of your family? I tend to take things one day at a time, working out what to have for dinner and sometimes what to aim for a few years down the road. But when I look back on these families that went before me, I see such a vista. Generations lined up like stair-steps, passing the baton until... me. What will my great-great-grandchildren see when they look back at me? Am I building a foundation they can build on? Will my decisions set them back? Am I taking this baton with the intent to pass it on, or will I drop it, trade it off, or use it up somehow? Talk about a perspective in Purpose.

It's popular these days to slap a sticker on your RV that says, "We're spending our children's inheritance," while you spend your golden years making up for the sacrifices your children cost you in earlier times. I submit that that's pretty near wicked. What a terminal view of things. Look back. Look at those who came before you, and realize you are where you are partly due to them. What do you hope for the generations after you? How can you add to that possibility?

It's also assumed in our culture that once you're 18, you're 'on your own.' Even if you can't afford to totally move out of your parents' home, it's generally accepted that you will have your own job, make your own schedule, run with your own friends, and do your own thing. You're solo - whatever you are and whatever you do is up to you, fall or fly. Sometimes there's no choice but that, but should that be our accepted ideal? Maybe we should link arms and see how far we can go together...

Now it's easy to think this is all about money and assets. But it's so much more than that. What if you knew your place and purpose and role in the Kingdom of God? What if your environment was a reminder of that place, of those who came before and those who will come after, and you knew you were an important link in it? What would your decisions look like then? What would you build? How would you live? It really makes ME realize that it's almost completely not about me. Even if dinner is still a question mark. :) I need to think about where to carry that baton, and how best to help the next generation prepare for their turn.

A part of me longs for that time and that kind of secure sense of belonging (or what I assume it to be; what it looks like from here), but I need to redirect that and realize I DO belong, I DO have an important purpose and role here and now. Whether I know it or not, I WILL be an influential part of the line (both spiritually and materially). It is a blessing to be aware of that. Now I pray to be equal to the task at hand...

1 comment:

Fatima said...

Oh, I like this.
Very much...
Thanks. :)